10.22.20

Links 23/10/2020: ‘Groovy Gorilla’ Everywhere in the News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10 ARM64 Has A “8~20x” Performance Optimization Forgotten About For Two Years – Phoronix

        Last week was the main set of ARM 64-bit architecture updates for Linux 5.10 while today a second batch of changes were sent in for this kernel. That first round had the Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) and Pointer Authentication support among other improvements while this secondary pull has two notable performance optimizations.

        First up is a performance optimization that the Arm developers acknowledge was seemingly forgotten about for some two years. Back in 2018 was a memory management speed-up by around 20x for the mremap system call on large memory regions. That work was merged but the feature never enabled for the ARM64 Linux kernel builds until now.

      • Kernel 5.9: Onwards and upwards

        With version 5.9 of the Linux Kernel now released, it is time to, once again, review Collabora’s contributions to this release which contains many improvements, primarily in hardware support, multimedia, graphics, testing and continuous contributions to other subsystems.

        The importance of software maintenance has been highlighted in the last week with the discovery of a high-severity Bluetooth flaw. Whilst some reports have suggested that 5.9 contains the required fixes, many articles have been updated to reflect the fact that this is not the case. The required changes should be available as part of the 5.10 kernel when it is released and the kernel stable branches have picked them up. Many distributions are also now providing security releases covering this issue, we advise that you look out for (and apply) security fixes from your distribution of choice.

      • It’s in the Air: The Corsair HS70 Wireless Headset & Linux

        Looking more widely at headset support in Linux, what can we expect? Unfortunately there’s a dearth of information, especially once you get away from the most popular models. Analog headsets will of course be fine (the joys of analog!), and Bluetooth should also work well, as long as you have that working. Though note that some Bluetooth audio devices prefer mobile, like some Jabra wireless earbuds that have spotty records of connecting to computers in general.

        Otherwise, though, there lacks any central database or way to find out what the support is like for a device you are interested in. You’ll have to rely on your search skills, maybe GitHub, and probably sorting out random forum or Reddit posts to figure out any issues. The Arch Wiki tends to be a great hardware reference, but here there’s just a page for Bluetooth headsets.

        These days it seems quite likely that your random USB audio device, even wireless, has a decent chance of working. But maybe not, and if you rely on any features that may require software or special drivers (controlling the device beyond volume, sound virtualization, etc.) it is still is a bit of a guessing game. At least HeadsetControl provides an indirect way of knowing if something will work, as they list many models of headsets which I assume means all the standard audio works already. When in doubt, make sure you check that return policy!

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Most Innovative ~$50 Graphics Card For Linux Users

          This ~$50 USD graphics card is open-source friendly, can drive four display outputs simultaneously, passively cooled, and can fit in a PCI Express x1 slot. It’s a unique card offering good value especially for those Linux users wanting open-source friendly hardware.

          Earlier this year ASUS announced the GT710-4H-SL-2GD5. In the months since we didn’t hear anything more about it given the pandemic but recently saw it became available via Internet retailers and picked one up for testing.

    • Applications

      • KeePassXC 2.6.2 Released with ‘Always on Top’ Option

        KeePassXC, KeePass Cross-Platform Community Edition, released a new update today with new menu option to keep window always on top.

      • 5 of the Best Linux Text Editors

        A text editor is very important for any operating system. Be it taking quick notes, drafting a document, or even coding a script, it is the best tool for the job. For Linux, you’d be amazed by just how many different text editors there are out there. To help you decide which text editor you want to use, here we cover the best text editors on Linux.

        [...]

        Linux Text editors are serious business. Everyone has a strong opinion about what they feel is the best one. None of them are wrong, of course. Each editor has its strengths and weaknesses, and even if none of the text editors in the above list interest you, there are still many alternatives around, like the CherryTree Notepad, which didn’t make the list above.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Hunt down other players in the competitive local multiplayer game Unspottable out now | GamingOnLinux

        Unspottable has you and friends all blended together amongst a crowd, and you each need to find the other to take them down. It’s highly amusing and out now.

      • Explore an open world with dynamic turn-based battles in Tenderfoot Tactics out now | GamingOnLinux

        I honestly feel like I need to take an entire week off just to play Tenderfoot Tactics, a mix of turn-based battling and open-world exploration that’s out now. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Tenderfoot Tactics is a very strange mix of games. The open-world exploration is real-time, and it blends in party-based RPG mechanics with each of your goblins having levels, equipment, abilities and the option to evolve into something bigger and then when you get into the combat it flips that into a turn-based tactical battler. It works together so amazingly well though.

        “For a generation, the terrible Fog – one vast, voiceless, and cruel spirit – has been eating the once-thick forests of the mainland. Now, with nowhere left to call home, and granted magic by the friendly spirits of the archipelago, one small party of would-be adventurers sets out. Find a way to save the many goblin towns of the rocky coast, discover the truth of the Fog, and, if possible, put an end to it.”

      • Avoid getting cut up in an intergalactic slaughterhouse, Disc Room is out now

        Small rooms, lots of spinning blades – what could possibly go wrong? Disc Room is insane and I absolutely love it.

        [...]

        Just note, that it’s made with Game Maker Studio which continues to have some weird dependency problems with libcurl. On Arch Linux for example, you can install the libcurl-compat package and then launch it like this…

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma on the Edge

          You probably have heard the news by now that Microsoft have released the Linux version of their new Chromium-based Edge web browser. Of course I’ve been waiting for this day ever since they announced the switcheroo to Chromium in order to bring Plasma Browser Integration to Edge users. It took Microsoft almost two decades to offer another web browser to a Unixoid desktop and this time around it’s based on KDE’s legacy – what a time to be alive!

          You can already use Plasma Browser Integration just fine with Edge by installing it from the Chrome web store. Until Plasma 5.21 is out, however, it will only see it as yet another Chromium, meaning that KRunner, media controls, and so on might not map to the correct browser window or show only a generic icon.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Things I do: Proposal to add build graph output to GNU Make

          In 2015 I worked as a consultant at a large company in Lund. My position was with the build team and one of our responsibilities was managing and maintaining the build system for their Android based phones.

          The problem I was tasked with solving was the fact that running ‘make’ for a product after a successful build resulted in a lot of stuff being rebuilt unnecessarily.

          A stock Android build tree behaved nicely: a second run of ‘make’ only produced a line about everything being up-to-date. But the company products were taking a good 15 minutes for a rebuild even if nothing had been changed.

          The Android build system works by including all recipes to be built (programs / libraries / etc) using the GNU Make include directive, so that you end up with one giant Makefile that holds all rules for building the platform. Possibly to avoid the problems laid out in the paper Recursive make considered harmful.

        • Sébastien Wilmet: gedit crowdfunding

          The gedit text editor has a long history of development, it has been created in 1998 at the beginnings of GNOME. So it is one of the oldest GNOME application still alive and usually installed by default with Linux distributions that provide GNOME as their desktop environment.

          It is this – the fact that many Linux users know and have gedit installed – that motivates me to improve it, to make it a top notch core application. It is not an easy undertaking though, the codebase is old and large, and there are several underlying software components (libraries) that are critical for the main functioning of gedit.

    • Distributions

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 on Raspberry Pi delivers the full Linux desktop and micro clouds

          Canonical today released Ubuntu 20.10 with optimised Raspberry Pi images for desktop in support of learners, inventors, educators and entrepreneurs, bringing the world’s most open platform to the world’s most accessible hardware.

          “In this release, we celebrate the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s commitment to put open computing in the hands of people all over the world,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical. “We are honoured to support that initiative by optimising Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi, whether for personal use, educational purposes or as a foundation for their next business venture.”

          The Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4 join a very long list of x86 and ARM devices certified with Ubuntu, the operating system (OS) best known for its public cloud and desktop offerings. Dell, HP and Lenovo all certify PCs with Ubuntu Desktop, which is also the most widely used OS on the AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM and Oracle clouds.

          Ubuntu 20.10 also includes LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s 1.19 for resilient micro clouds, small clusters of servers providing VMs and Kubernetes on demand at the edge, for remote office, branch office, warehouse and distribution oriented infrastructure.

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.10 Release Notes

          If you want bug fixes :bug:, kernel updates :corn:, a new web camera control :movie_camera:, and a new indicator :point_right: experience, then 20.10 is for you :tada:. Ubuntu MATE 20.10 will be supported for 9 months until July 2021. If you need Long Term Support, we recommend you use Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS.

        • Build a Raspberry Pi Desktop with an Ubuntu heart | Ubuntu

          Since the Raspberry Pi Foundation began its mission, users have been using their boards to run everything in their lives. Whether that’s making DIY devices, learning to code or building products, it was made possible by Raspberry Pis. But running a full-featured, LTS desktop that can handle the expectations of everyday users, without technical knowledge, wasn’t really possible. Until recently.

          The Raspberry Pi 4 debuted with the graphics, RAM and connectivity needed for a Linux workstation. Users finally had the hardware to make a Raspberry Pi into a viable primary PC. But there were still issues. Most importantly, a lot of the desktop options either required a non-zero amount of technical knowledge or weren’t suited for long term use. Usually because of a lack of upstream support or running unmaintained, niche software.

          Canonical, the company that publishes Ubuntu, is and continues to be a long term fan of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Together, our missions to make technology more accessible to people all of the world aligns, and both organisations understand the value of an active and trusting community. So, when the Raspberry Pi 4 launched with the capabilities to run a full-fat Ubuntu Desktop, we didn’t blink.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Flavours Released, This is What’s (Mostly) New

          Arriving alongside the final Ubuntu 20.10 release are new builds from Ubuntu’s family of flavours, which includes Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie.

          Rather than publish individual posts for each flavour I decided to post this instead: a concise roundup limited to just two paragraphs per flavour.

          Short though that sounds I still present flavour’s key changes and new features, plus give you the download links you need if you want to try a flavour out for yourself.

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is Here With Renewed Raspberry Pi Focus – Slashdot
        • Ubuntu 20.10 now supports Raspberry Pi » Linux Magazine

          Ubuntu 20.10 is the first release from Canonical to support the Raspberry Pi single board computer.

          For any Linux admin who’s been looking to deploy single board computers for various purposes, there’s a new (while at the same time old) player in the Raspberry Pi mix—Ubuntu 20.10. Groovy Gorilla is the first official Ubuntu release to not only be optimized for the Raspberry Pi as a server distro, but as a full-blown desktop as well.

          To make this even more appealing, Ubuntu 20.10 will include the likes of LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s for the easy deployment of resilient micro clouds, small clusters of servers providing virtual machines, and Kubernetes on demand at the edge.

          Any Raspberry Pi 4 board with 4GB or 8GB of RAM can be deployed with Ubuntu Desktop or Server. And this isn’t a stripped-down version of the platform, it’s the full Monty. Canonical has put in a ton of work to optimize Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi. According to the Ubuntu PR Machine, “With this release, Ubuntu is optimized for Raspberry Pi, giving users of all levels and capabilities the access to Linux and microcloud technologies.”

        • What’s new in Ubuntu 20.10 – YouTube

          In this video, we are looking at what’s new in Ubuntu 20.10.

        • 10 Things to Do After Installing Ubuntu 20.10

          A new Ubuntu release means a new rundown of the most important post-install procedures you should perform.

          This guide is (as always) aimed at those who are new to – or less experienced with – Ubuntu. Each item aims to enhance or improve the default Ubuntu 20.10 experience, not rip it out or remould it

          I write a new “things to do…” list for each Ubuntu release rather than just update the old one. Why do I do that? Because the steps often change. Issues that needed post-install futzing last time may now be fixed.

        • Essential Guide: How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10 from Ubuntu 20.04

          The Ubuntu upgrade process is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t take that long providing you have a semi-decent internet connection.

          There are a few things to keep in mind before rushing into an upgrade though so do pay close attention to the steps laid out in this tutorial.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 is Now Available to Download

          The official release announcement hasn’t been sent to the Ubuntu mailing list, but Ubuntu 20.10 desktop .iso images are up on the release server, ready for you (and everyone else) to download.

          Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is a short-term release. It comes with 9 months of security updates, critical fixes, and select software updates from Canonical, makers of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Released With GNOME 3.38, Active Directory Installer Integration

          Ubuntu 20.10, the “Groovy Gorilla”, is now officially available.

          Ubuntu 20.10 features many improvements like:

          - The GNOME 3.38 desktop is available with a wealth of improvements there including several performance optimizations / fixes handled by Canonical’s desktop team.

          - Continued work on the experimental OpenZFS file-system support that is available as an option when installing Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Is Now Available for Download, This Is What’s New

          Dubbed Groovy Gorilla, Ubuntu 20.10 has been in development for the past six months, continuing the six-month release cycle of Ubuntu. It supersedes the previous release, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), though being a long-term support series many will prefer not to upgrade since they’ll receive free updates for at least 4 and a half more years.

          What’s new in Ubuntu 20.10? Well, being a short-lived release supported for only nine months, Ubuntu 20.10 comes with a handful of new features, including the latest and greatest GNOME 3.38 desktop environment which I previewed last month if you’re curious to see the differences from GNOME 3.36 used in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Official Flavors Released, Here’s What’s New

          As part of the today’s Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) release, all the official Ubuntu flavors have been updated and I want you to be the first to read about their new features and improvements. The official flavors released as part of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) include Kubuntu 20.10, Xubuntu 20.10, Lubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu Studio 20.10, Ubuntu MATE 20.10, Ubuntu Budgie 20.10, and Ubuntu Kylin 20.10. As expected, they come with all the core features of Ubuntu 20.10, as well as…

          Kubuntu 20.04 LTS ships with the KDE Plasma 5.19.5 desktop environment, KDE Frameworks 5.74 and KDE Applications 20.08 software suites, as well as Qt 5.14.2. Among the included apps, there’s Elisa 20.08.1 as default music player instead of Cantata, LibreOffice 7.0 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 81 web browser, Latte Dock 0.9.10, KDE Connect 20.08.1, Krita 4.3.0, and KDevelop 5.5.2.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) released

          The Ubuntu 20.10 release is out.

        • Groovy Gorilla Release Notes

          These release notes for Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) provide an overview of the release and document the known issues with Ubuntu and its flavours.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Arrives With Linux 5.8, GNOME 3.38, Raspberry Pi 4 Support

          Just two days ago, Ubuntu marked the 16th anniversary of its first ever release, Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog,” which showed Linux could be a more user friendly operating system.

          Back to now, after the six months of development cycle and the release of the current long-term Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa,” Canonical has announced a new version called Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” along with its seven official flavor: Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio.

          Ubuntu 20.10 is a short term or non-LTS release, which means it will be supported for 9 months until July 2021. Though v20.10 does not seem a major release, it does come with a lot of exciting and new features.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 overview | Fast, secure and simple.

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Ubuntu 20.10 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • The Ubuntu desktop has a vision problem – Ubuntu 20.10 review

          We’re nearing the end of October already, and this means it’s time for a new release of Ubuntu 20.10, Groovy Gorilla. There are new desktop features, and new plumbing, as always, but I mostly have some thoughts about the Ubuntu desktop in general. Does 20.10 deserve its name?

        • Looking At Six Flavors of Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla”

          In this video, I take a quick look at the recently released (or soon-to-be-released) versions of Ubuntu 20.10 codenamed “Groovy Gorilla.” I will briefly look at the flagship Ubuntu distribution as well as: Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie and Ubuntu MATE.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 361
          • MDN Web Docs: Editorial strategy and community participation – Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

            Our updated editorial strategy has two main parts: the creation of content pillars and an editorial calendar.

            The MDN writers’ team has always been responsible for keeping the MDN web platform reference documentation up-to-date, including key areas such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web APIs. We are breaking these key areas up into “content pillars”, which we will work on in turn to make sure that the significant new web platform updates are documented each month.

          • L10n Report: October 2020 Edition | Mozilla L10N

            New content and projects What’s new or coming up in Firefox desktop

          • Modern Web Standards Are Leaving Niche Web Browsers Behind – LinuxReviews

            There’s plenty of web browsers to choose from on desktop computers but there’s not much of a choice if you look beneath the surface. There’s a ton of web browsers based on Google’s Chromium code-base, a few mostly iOS and macOS browsers based on Apple’s Webkit engine and then there’s Firefox with it’s own Quantum rendering engine. There also Pale Moon with it’s own Goanna rendering engine. It is increasingly falling behind the bigger browsers and more and more websites are broken in it as web developers deploy web standards other browsers, but not Pale Moon, support.

            [...]

            The developer of the Pale Moon web browser announced that Pale Moon’s source code is being migrated off Microsoft GitHub yesterday. The reason? Moonchild doesn’t like that GitHub is increasingly relying on web standards the Pale Moon web browser doesn’t support.

          • US Department Of Justice Lawsuit Against Google Could Kill Firefox – LinuxReviews

            A US Department of Justice lawsuit against Google on the grounds that they are a “monopolist” could result in the death of the one realistic free software web browser alternative that’s not based on the Google-controlled Chromium code-base and it’s Blink rendering engine. Mozilla will need to find some other partner willing to pay them $400 million a year if they are forced to cancel their sweet “royalty” contract with Google.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Webinar Recording: “virtualenv – a deep dive” with Bernat Gabor – PyCharm Blog | JetBrains

            PyCharm virtual environments are an important but challenging topic. We recently hosted Bernat Gabor to discuss this, as well as his rewrite of virtualenv, the hugely-popular command-line tool for creating virtual environment. The recording is now available.

            This was a very engaging webinar, with lots of questions, and many thanks to Bernat for taking the time to give thoughtful replies.

          • Python Morsels: The 2 Types of “Change” in Python

            The word “change” is ambiguous in Python: we have two distinct types of “change” in Python.

            We can “change” a variable by changing which object that variable is pointing to. We do that through an assignment statement.

            We can also “change” an actual object through a mutation.

            Let’s take a look at both types of change.

          • Python: Slice Notation on String

            The term slicing in programming usually refers to obtaining a substring, sub-tuple, or sublist from a string, tuple, or list respectively.

            Python offers an array of straightforward ways to slice not only these three but any iterable. An iterable is, as the name suggests, any object that can be iterated over.

            In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Slicing Strings in Python.

          • R vs Python for Data Analysis — An Objective Comparison

            There are dozens articles out there that compare R vs. Python from a subjective, opinion-based perspective. Both Python and R are great options for data analysis, or any work in the data science field.

            But if your goal is to figure out which language is right for you, reading the opinion of someone else may not be helpful. One person’s “easy” is another person’s “hard,” and vice versa.

            In this article, we’re going to do something different. We’ll take an objective look at how both languages handle everyday data science tasks so that you can look at them side-by-side, and see which one looks better for you.

            Keep in mind, you don’t need to actually understand all of this code to make a judgment here! We’ll give you R vs Python code snippets for each task — simply scan through the code and consider which one seems more “readable” to you. Read the explanations, and see if one language holds more appeal than the other.

  • Leftovers

    • Planning for Disaster: A Writing Exercise

      What does it take to survive a crisis? Have you ever written a personal safety plan? Kelly Hayes offers some guidance on building solutions for the situation you’re in.

    • Military Flyovers at NFL Games Are Ridiculous

      There is no broadcast team more pleased with their own stentorian authority than NFL announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Buck is an American legacy, the son of legendary play by play man Jack Buck. Aikman, the handsome, blond former star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, might as well be Captain America’s uncle. These two voices of the heartland were caught on a hot mic speaking the kind of truth that they never would have dared utter on the airwaves.

    • Fraudulent Indigenous Art Is Flooding Museums

      It’s a modest museum on the edge of a modest town. The Lander Pioneer Museum is dimly lit, a nod to its log cabin beginnings, and its mismatched display cases house everything from antique saddles to applesauce mills—artifacts of early settlers in what is now Lander, Wyo. In the main gallery, a placard announces the institution’s major show, “Tribal Warrior Art.” The exhibition, which debuted in fall of 2018, contains about 100 ledger art drawings—narrative illustrations created by Indigenous artists from the Plains on discarded account books, mostly during the late 19th century.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • “Herd Immunity” Was Originally About Vaccination. Now It Is Neoliberal Violence.

        Recent weeks have seen right-wing governments, notably Trump’s administration, embrace the deeply problematic notion of “herd immunity.” These efforts are fortified now by a mysterious “minority report” — purportedly from dissident public health experts — known as The Great Barrington Declaration. Yet the validity of the document is being questioned, as many of the names appearing on it look to be based on jokes. Angela Mitropoulos is a political theorist and academic based in Sydney, Australia, and the author of Pandemonium: Proliferating Borders of Capital and the Pandemic Swerve (2020) and Contract and Contagion (2012). In this interview with cultural theorist Max Haiven (editor of the VAGABONDS book series in which Pandemonium appeared), Mitropoulos discusses the origins and politics of the “herd immunity” argument.

      • McConnell Admits to Sabotaging COVID Relief Talks to Rush Barrett Confirmation

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his Republican colleagues Tuesday that he has privately been urging the Trump White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November 3 election, warning that an agreement could interfere with his chamber’s plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court early next week.

      • Veterans Affairs Secretary Headlines GOP Fundraiser as COVID-19 Cases Surge

        Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie headlined a fundraiser for the North Carolina Republican Party last week, taking time away from his job leading the government’s second-largest agency at a moment when COVID-19 cases are surging in VA hospitals.

        Though legal, campaigning by cabinet secretaries is a departure from historical norms. Nevertheless, it’s become standard practice in the administration of President Donald Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit the campaign trail for Trump, and several other cabinet members recently visited Iowa. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is also campaigning in North Carolina. Trump himself has routinely blurred politics with official functions, most prominently by hosting the Republican convention on the White House lawn, and he’s brushed off more than a dozen staff violations of the federal Hatch Act, which limits political activity by government employees.

      • World Food Day Drives Home Need for Change in the US

        The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the current industrialized food supply system, which is nested in an unequal, racialized and gendered socio-economic system experiencing the increasing prevalence of unemployment and food insecurity.

      • Global Reproductive Health on the Ballot this November

        If Democrats are elected, we can have a new president and a congress that will fight to repeal the Helms Amendment and safeguard accessible and affordable healthcare everywhere.

      • Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

        Eight months into the pandemic and following pleas from educators and parents, Illinois has decided it will publish data on the coronavirus’s spread in schools.

        The decision comes two weeks after a story by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune detailed the lack of information available to school officials and parents as they try to decide whether in-person learning is safe. Illinois public health officials told reporters there had been outbreaks in at least 44 school buildings across the state but declined to say where.

      • The EPA Refuses to Reduce Pollutants Linked to Coronavirus Deaths

        In April, as coronavirus cases multiplied across the country, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected scientists’ advice to tighten air pollution standards for particulate matter, or soot.

        In the next few weeks, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler likely will reaffirm that decision with a final ruling, despite emerging evidence that links particulate pollution to COVID-19 deaths.

      • ‘Prosecute the Sackler Family’: Critics Say DOJ Settlement Not Nearly Enough for Purdue Pharma’s Deadly Role in Opioid Crisis

        “Today’s guilty plea comes too late for the millions of lives that Purdue’s crimes destroyed over the past decade.”

      • Dumb Bastards Are Killing Us
      • Amid Trump’s Politicization of FDA, California Joins New York in Vowing to Independently Review Coronavirus Vaccines

        “Like our approach to Covid-19, when it comes to a vaccine, California will be guided by science.”

      • Russian manufacturer says it refuses to believe news reports that America trashed the ventilators shipped to NYC in April

        The Rostec subsidiary that manufactured the 45 ventilators delivered to New York earlier this year as part of a U.S.-Russian exchange of medical supplies says it doesn’t believe reports in the American news media that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency “disposed of” the hardware. “We believe in reason and reject the idea that American officials could do such a thing with valuable equipment so highly in demand around the world during the pandemic,” a spokesperson for the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET) told the news agency TASS.

      • A Glimmer of Hope: Mortality Rate Is Improving for Hospitalized COVID Patients

        The drought in New England made this year’s foliage season a foreshortened russet-and-dun affair, and it suits the moment. The hills are painted red in homage to the third surge of COVID-19 that will soon cover every COVID-charting map in a wine-spill of scarlet from sea to sea and border to border. We know this beast by now; that which we are told is coming soon has already arrived in stealth.

      • Trump Denounces Fauci as a “Disaster” Who “Got It Wrong” About COVID-19

        President Donald Trump denounced Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as a “disaster” and possible “idiot” who “got it wrong” about COVID-19 — even though the president recently used Fauci’s words in a recent campaign commercial.

      • Looming Failure of Stimulus Exposes GOP’s Double Standards on the Deficit

        With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell coming out against a stimulus deal, it looks increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass a COVID stimulus bill before the election. While supposed concerns about a clash between the stimulus and the vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have thrown a wrench in the timing, the continuation of the months-long Republican resistance in the Senate is supposed to be based on good, old-fashioned fiscal responsibility.

      • The Pandemic Sent Americans’ Health Care Coverage Into Free Fall

        Before the pandemic hit, John made a decent living mowing people’s yards and doing landscaping in Houston. He had a place to live with his 15-year-old son. He even had health insurance that he bought for himself and his son “in case anything happens,” he said.

      • Putin says Russia isn’t planning to introduce a second coronavirus lockdown

        The Russian government isn’t planning to introduce severe restrictions due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus in the country, said President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs on Wednesday, October 21.

      • Russian health authorities launch inquiry following media reports of COVID-19 patients dying in Rostov-on-Don hospital due to lack of oxygen

        Russia’s federal healthcare watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, is carrying out an inquiry on behalf of the Health Ministry into the cause of death of 13 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Rostov-on-Don, who, according to media reports, passed away due to a lack of medical oxygen.

      • Oblivion Agenda: Mike Adams’ COVID-19-inspired update to his alien vaccine holocaust conspiracy theory

        I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories over 20 years now. Indeed, my entry into skepticism and science-based medicine came in response to one of the most despicable conspiracy theories in existence, Holocaust denial. At the time, that conspiracy theory seemed on its face ridiculous enough to me, but, as I quickly learned as the 1990s drew to a close, it was held by a disturbing number of people, mostly in the support of admiration of Hitler and even outright fascism. Also, in the course of a few short years, deconstructing Holocaust denial led me to develop many of the skills that enabled me to start tackling alternative medicine and the antivaccine movement. Not long after, I witnessed for my first time the birth of a conspiracy theory, “9/11 Truth,” the conspiracy theory that it wasn’t jetliners that brought down the towers and that the attack was an “inside job,” in response to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. This conspiracy theory was soon followed by others, such as the anti-CDC Simpsonwood conspiracy theory first popularized by antivax leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in 2005 and the “CDC whistleblower” antivaccine conspiracy theory in 2014, which later led to Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield’s antivaccine propaganda movie disguised as a documentary, VAXXED. As a result of these experiences, I remain a bit of a connoisseur of conspiracy theories, the more ridiculous and outrageous the better, for the simple reason that nearly all science denialism, be it alternative medicine, the antivaccine movement, climate science “skepticism” (i.e., denial), “9/11 Truth,” Holocaust denial, creationism, or others, has at its heart one or more conspiracy theories. Little did I know that, two decades later, knowledge of conspiracy theories, how they originate, and how they spread would be so essential, which leads me to Mike Adams’ “Oblivion Agenda.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • 1Password for Linux desktop app now available in beta [Ed: So many puff pieces for proprietary software that is harvesting people's passwords. Are those sites paid to spew out bad recommendations that likely have undisclosed/undocumented back doors?]

            The popular password manager 1Password is now available for Linux users in beta version.

            Pegged for an official release in early 2021, the Linux release for 1Password – which has been used by Windows and Mac users for years – offers a “full-featured desktop app” where users can securely manage and store passwords and other important credentials, such as credit card information.

        • Security

          • U.S. Justice Department charges six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with worldwide cyberattacks

            The United States has accused six officers from the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces (the GU, formerly known as the Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) of involvement in a series of large-scale cyberattacks. According to the indictment, these Russian nationals are all officers in Unit 74455, which has been linked repeatedly to hacker attacks in the past, including by Washington. The U.S. Justice Department released the names of the Russian military intelligence officers in question, identifying them as Yuri Andrienko, Sergey Detistov, Pavel Frolov, Anatoly Kovalev, Artem Ochichenko, and Pyotr Paliskin. All six have been charged formally already. The Justice Department noted that one of the accused — Anatoly Kovalev — is also a defendant in the case on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

          • Making the Grade with Linux and Cybersecurity at the Intelligent Edge

            As intelligent edge deployments accelerate, we have reached a crossroads where many are being forced to choose between the accessibility, ease of use, flexibility, and leading-edge capabilities of open source software and the safety and security of systems in the field. How we proceed has the potential to lead massive transformation in the embedded industry.

            “Using open source early in the proof-of-concept cycle means taking advantage of the rapid pace of open source innovation,” says Matt Jones, Chief Architect at Wind River. “Taking your solution to market comes with additional measures meant to protect your device throughout its lifecycle.”

          • Security updates for Thursday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (freetype2), Debian (bluez, firefox-esr, and freetype), Fedora (firefox), openSUSE (chromium), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (java-11-openjdk), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (freetype2, gnutls, kernel, php7, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (flightgear, italc, libapache2-mod-auth-mellon, libetpan, and php-imagick).

          • Snyk to automatically check Docker Official Images for security problems [Ed: ZDNet pushing FUD vendors again, ones connected to Microsoft]
          • OpenDev’s Gerrit deployment back online after suspected admin account compromise

            OpenDev.org’s Gerrit deployment has been restored after being taken offline following the detection of malicious activity on its repositories.

            The repositories were disabled two hours after project maintainers were alerted to a suspected security breach on Tuesday morning (October 20).
            “We believe an admin account in Gerrit was compromised allowing an attacker to escalate privileges within Gerrit,” said Clark Boylan in a service announcement issued later that day.
            “Around 02:00 UTC October 20 suspicious review activity was noticed, and we were made aware of it shortly afterwards.

            “The involved account was disabled and removed from privileged Gerrit groups. After further investigation we decided that we needed to stop the service, this happened at about 04:00 UTC.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The pylons have ears: Moscow allocates roughly $2 million for a new traffic-monitoring system that will capture the MAC-address from your mobile device

              In its efforts to manage and monitor the flow of human beings through the city, Moscow officials have experimented with mobile apps, QR codes, and telephone hotlines. Many of these systems have confused the elderly, overwhelmed operators, and frustrated virtually everyone. According to a new public contract reported in the Russian news media, the capital now plans to invest in a less intrusive technology that silently tracks traffic flows by logging background connections with random mobile devices. Meduza summarizes a new report by the newspaper Kommersant.

            • Peru’s Third Who Defends Your Data? Report: Stronger Commitments from ISPs, But Imbalances, and Gaps to Bridge.

              Hiperderecho, Peru’s leading digital rights organization, has launched today its third ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends you Data)–a report that seeks to hold telecom companies accountable for their users’ privacy. The new Peruvian edition shows improvements compared to 2019’s evaluation.

              Movistar and Claro commit to require a warrant for handing both users’ communications content and metadata to the government. The two companies also earned credit for defending user’s privacy in Congress or for challenging government requests. None scored any star last year in this category. Claro stands out with detailed law enforcement guidelines, including an explanatory chart for the procedures the company adopts before law enforcement requests for communications data. However, Claro should be more specific about the type of communications data covered by the guidelines. All companies have received full stars for their privacy policies, while only three did so in the previous report. Overall, Movistar and Claro are tied in the lead. Entel and Bitel lag, with the former bearing a slight advantage. 

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Free Speech

      • Jeffrey Toobin’s Zoom Dick Incident Is The Perfect Example Of Why We Need Section 230

        I know that it’s 2020 and the normal concepts no longer make any sense, but on Monday of this week, quite a story broke that spread quickly through the media world. CNN and New Yorker famed legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was apparently suspended from both companies, after it was revealed that he was caught masturbating on a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues, in which they were playing an election simulation game (that appears to be similar, but not identical to the election simulation game we created — though I swear that ours does not involve any masturbating legal analysts).

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Handling Trolls Invading A Community (1993)

        Summary: Before even the World Wide Web existed, Usenet was a popular gathering place for various niche communities to congregate. In many ways it was similar to what Reddit has become today, except that it was not controlled by any single company. Instead there were a number of newsgroups (like subreddits) and various news servers that could choose to carry whichever news groups they wanted.

      • Russia’s media watchdog says state TV airing leaked photos of historian’s underage foster daughter isn’t a rights violation

        Russia’s media and censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has determined that the state television channel Rossiya didn’t violate the rights of historian Yuri Dmitriev’s underage foster daughter by airing nude photos of her leaked from a court case file, Karelia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Gennady Saraev wrote on his page on the social media site Odnoklassniki.

      • Stupid Use Of Profanity Filter Makes A Mess Of Virtual Paleontologist Conference

        We’ve known for some time that the sorts of automated filters that get applied to various internet-y things are flawed in the extreme. But of all the filters that annoy me the most, profanity filters are the worst. And, no, it’s not just because I use curse words like commas. Rather, it’s the combination of just how badly this is used, such as how Google thought for years that “bisexual” was a naughty word, along side how nefarious actors can block all sorts of non-profane language just by calling it profane. Add to all of this that a total lack of nuance for identifying so-called “naughty words” regularly causes perfectly non-profane content to be blocked or censored and this all begins to look like an exercise worth giving up.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Labor, Land, and Legacy: What New Might We Grow in the Shell of the Old?

        Jersey City, N.J.—Our diasporic family lives between three places, at least figuratively: the United States, Ecuador, and Egypt. Ecuador was hit hardest by the pandemic in regions where migrants had returned home from Spain, bringing the virus with them. Images of dead bodies deserted in the streets of Guayaquil made my mom’s anxiety about Covid-19 soar. For weeks, my parents would not even walk Pechochito, their feisty Pomeranian, around the block. And so, I did what any loving (and newly unemployed) first-generation daughter would do: I took care of their grocery shopping, and their business; I became an interim landlord.

      • A Dilemma of Intimacy

        When I shaved my head in anticipation of chemotherapy, two things happened. First, just like that, I stopped looking like a woman. Second, I turned into a monk. My husband, peering in the mirror, said, “Hey, you look like a cute monk!” I am pretty sure the “cute” part came out of love, but the “monk” part, echoing my thoughts, struck me as a notable coincidence. In the spirit of camaraderie, he, too, shaved his head. But he did not look less male, nor did he look like a monk. Being tall and white, he looked… well, military. So there we were: the monk and the soldier.

      • ‘Exciting and Historical Moment’: Their Rights Restored, 67,000+ Former Felons Set to Vote in Florida Amid Record Early Turnout

        “There are thousands upon thousands of energized and inspired returning citizens throughout the state that will not be denied, that will be a voice, and will have an impact in determining who wins Florida.”

      • Using DOJ ‘to Crush a Victim,’ Barr Claims Trump Cannot Be Sued for Denying E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Accusation

        “There is not a single person in the United States—not the president and not anyone else—whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted,” Carroll’s lawyers said. 

      • Report Details How Trump Downplays, Ignores Grave Human Rights Violations Around the World

        One expert accused the administration of “using all the tools at its disposal to undermine our asylum system.”

      • Best Wishes
      • DEA’s “Project Safeguard” Latest Salvo in Failed US War on Drugs

        “It is astonishing that in the midst of a pandemic and calls for police reform, the DEA is using the same old heavy-handed tactics to address a public health issue.”

      • Overdoses Are Skyrocketing During COVID-19. The DEA Is Making It Worse.

        Drug overdose deaths have seen an alarming spike as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted treatment and aggravated the underlying causes of drug misuse, according to multiple data sources. Meanwhile, millions of people in the United States continue to face significant barriers to evidence-based addiction treatment as law enforcement restricts the supply of pharmaceutical opioids, forcing pain patients and drug users toward dangerous substitutes such as heroin and fentanyl that fuel high rates of fatal overdoses.

      • Confirmation Hearings Exposed Barrett as a Hardcore Rightwing Activist

        Her goal on the court will be to drive America back to the days before the New Deal and the civil rights movement.

      • We Can’t See Young Progressive Voters as a Monolith

        These dispatches are published as part of StudentNation’s “Vision 2020: Election Stories From the Next Generation,” reports from young journalists that center the concerns of diverse young voters. In this project, working with Dr. Sherri Williams, we recruited young journalists from different backgrounds to develop story ideas and reporting about their peers’ concerns ahead of the most important election of our lives. This is the final installment of the series.

      • Pope Francis Signals ‘Historic’ Shift for Catholic Church, Publicly Supporting Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

        The pope won praise for “pushing the Church into the 21st Century.”

      • Russian Cabinet rejects bill outlining changes to the Family Code impacting children’s and transgender rights

        Russia’s Government Commission on Legislative Activities has rejected conservative Senator Elena Mizulina’s draft law “aimed at strengthening the institution of the family.” The commission believes that the changes outlined in the bill would tip the balance “towards the rights of parents” at the expense of children’s rights. A draft of the cabinet’s decision was obtained by TASS on Tuesday, October 20.

      • Women’s Rights, No Strings Attached
      • Aaron Sorkin Sanitizes the Chicago 7

        I confess that I was disheartened when I first heard that Aaron Sorkin, best known as the creator of the TV show The West Wing, was writing and directing a film about the trial of the Chicago Seven. Although much celebrated not just for The West Wing but for his scripts for films like A Few Good Men (1992) and The Social Network (2010), Sorkin struck me as having the exact wrong sensibility for telling the story of radicals fighting the legal system. Spanning the years 1969 and 1970, the Chicago Seven trial involved the federal government trying to convict seven anti-war radicals (Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner) along with Black Panther leader Bobby Seale (whose case was eventually treated separately). All stood accused of fomenting riots during the 1968 Democratic convention. The trial was extremely controversial and polarizing, with many shocking moments, most notoriously when Judge Julius Hoffman ordered Seale shackled and gagged after the defendant repeatedly tried to represent himself in court.

      • EFF to Supreme Court: American Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses Abroad Should Be Held Accountable

        For years EFF has been calling for U.S. companies that act as “repressions little helpers” to be held accountable, and now we’re telling the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite all the ways that technology has been used as a force for good–connecting people around the world, giving voice to the less powerful, and facilitating knowledge sharing—technology has also been used as a force multiplier for repression and human rights violations, a dark side that cannot be denied.Today EFF filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to preserve one of the few tools of legal accountability that exist for companies that intentionally aid and abet foreign repression, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). We told the court about what we and others have been seeing over the past decade or so: surveillance, communications, and database systems, just to name a few, have been used by foreign governments—with the full knowledge of and assistance by the U.S. companies selling those technologies—to spy on and track down activists, journalists, and religious minorities who have been imprisoned, tortured, and even killed.Specifically, we asked the Supreme Court today to rule that U.S. corporations can be sued by foreigners under the ATS and taken to court for aiding and abetting gross human rights abuses. The court is reviewing an ATS lawsuit brought by former child slaves from Côte d’Ivoire who claim two American companies, Nestle and Cargill, aided in abuse they suffered by providing financial support to cocoa farms they were forced to work at. The ATS allows noncitizens to bring a civil claim in U.S. federal court against a defendant that violated human rights laws. The companies are asking the court to rule that companies cannot be held accountable under the law, and that only individuals can.We were joined in the brief by the leading organizations tracking the sale of surveillance technology:  Access Now, Article 19, Privacy International, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and Ronald Deibert, director of Citizen Lab at University of Toronto. We told the court that the Nestle case does not just concern chocolate and children. The outcome will have profound implications for millions of Internet users and other citizens of countries around the world. Why? Because providing sophisticated surveillance and censorship products and services to foreign governments is big business for some American tech companies. The fact that their products are clearly being used for tools of oppression seems not to matter. Here are a few examples we cite in our brief:Cisco custom-built the so-called “Great Firewall” in China, also known as the “Golden Shield, which enables the government to conduct Internet surveillance and censorship against its citizens. Company documents have revealed that, as part of its marketing pitch to China, Cisco built a specific “Falun Gong module” into the Golden Shield that helped Chinese authorities efficiently identify and locate member of the Falun Gong religious minority, who were then apprehended and subjected to torture, forced conversion, and other human rights abuses. Falun Gong practitioners sued Cisco under the ATS in a case currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. EFF has filed briefs siding with the plaintiffs throughout the case.Ning Xinhua, a pro-democracy activist from China, just last month sued the successor companies, founder, and former CEO of Yahoo! Under the ATS for sharing his private emails with the Chinese government, which led to his arrest, imprisonment, and torture.Recently, the government of Belarus used technology from Sandvine, a U.S. network equipment company, to block much of the Internet during the disputed presidential election in August (the company canceled its contract with Belarus because of the censorship). The company’s technology is also used by Turkey, Syria, and Egypt against Internet users to redirect them to websites that contain spyware or block their access to political, human rights, and news contentWe also cited a case against IBM where we filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs, victims of apartheid, who sued under the ATS on claims that the tech giant aided and abetted the human rights abuses they suffered at the hands of the South African government. IBM created a customized computer-based national identification system that facilitated the “denationalization” of country’s Black population. Its customized technology enabled efficient identification, racial categorization, and forced segregation, furthering the systemic oppression of South Africa’s native population. Unfortunately the case was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The Supreme Court has severely limited the scope of ATS in several rulings over the years. The court is now being asked to essentially grant immunity from the ATS to U.S. corporations. That would be a huge mistake. Companies that provide products and services to customers that clearly intend to, and do, use them to commit gross human rights abuses must be held accountable for their actions. We don’t think companies should be held liable just because their technologies ended up in the hands of governments that use them to hurt people. But when technology corporations custom-make products for governments that are plainly using them to commit human rights abuses, they cross a moral, ethical, and legal line.We urge the Supreme Court to hold that U.S. courts are open when a U.S. tech company decides to put profits over basic human rights, and people in foreign countries are seriously harmed or killed by those choices.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Our Latest Techdirt Greenhouse Panel: Broadband In The Age Of Covid

        Let’s be clear: despite ample rhetoric to the contrary, U.S. broadband has always been a mediocre mess. Despite decades of incalculable industry handouts and political lip service, 42 million Americans (double official FCC estimates) still lack access to any broadband whatsoever. 83 million Americans are trapped under a broadband monopoly. Tens of millions more Americans are stuck with a duopoly, usually a combination of a cable giant and a phone company unwilling to upgrade or even repair aging DSL lines because it’s not profitable, quickly enough, for Wall Street’s liking.

      • FCC Too Afraid To Go On Record To Truly Support Trump’s Dumb Attack On Social Media

        We’ve already discussed at length how the FCC’s support of Trump’s dumb attack on social media and Section 230 is some of the most blistering hypocrisy we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a lot). This was, you’ll recall, an agency that whined like a toddler for five straight years about how some fairly modest rules holding telecom monopolies accountable was somehow “government run amok,” yet has now pivoted gracelessly into supporting Trump’s dumb, likely unconstitutional effort to have the FCC police social media — despite having little to no authority to actually do so.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Long Overdue’: Justice Department Sues Google in Antitrust Case

        The filing, announced Tuesday morning, accuses the tech giant of violating law to stifle competition.

      • Supporters Of Using Antitrust Against Big Tech Should Be Very Disappointed In How Weak The DOJ’s Case Is

        As you’ve already heard, the DOJ filed the long-expected antitrust case against Google earlier this week. Karl has already discussed how it appears to be a politicized weapon wielded by Attorney General Bill Barr to create a bogus culture war around how Trump is “taking on” big tech. Cathy has looked at one weird aspect of the case — how its own argument regarding trademark genericide actually cuts against the idea that Google is a monopoly.

      • Hague District Court grants cross-border preliminary injunction against Mylan in Novartis SPC battle

        Conventional wisdom says that the Dutch courts favour a pragmatic and commercial approach to patent litigation, allowing, where they can, patentees to effectively obtain cross-border injunctions against multiple defendants. In a recent decision dated 29 September 2020, the Hague District Court once again proved this conventional wisdom to be true.

        The Court’s decision imposes a pan-European preliminary injunction on three different Mylan entities for the infringement or facilitation of infringement of a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) held by Novartis. There decision can be found here [in Dutch].

        The decision is interesting because of (1) the Court’s analysis of the interface between paediatric extensions, orphan drugs and SPC’s; (2) the Court’s finding that the holder of a market authorization (MA) and a parent company can be liable for tortious interference of patent infringement; and (3) the Court’s assumption of jurisdiction to impose cross-border relief against a foreign MA holder.

      • Trademarks

For Better ‘Tech Rights’ in the United States (and the World at Large) the ‘Orange Man’ Needs to Go

Posted in America at 9:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not that Mr. Biden is good, but he’s clearly the “lesser evil” when it comes to “tech policy”

SF City Hall at night on Election Day 2018
SF City Hall at night on Election Day 2018, CC BY-SA 4.0 by Mrbeastmodeallday

Summary: With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale

THE election day in the United States (US) is fast approaching. We never endorse politicians in any country. Most politicians are professional liars and in the US they notoriously run for their “campaign contributors”, who clearly look for something in return. This form of ‘legalised’ bribery isn’t unique to the US, but maybe it is most grotesque there (relative to other Western countries).

I am the MafiaVoting is an opportunity for the public to have a say about how this public is being governed. In a two-party system, where both parties are funded by overlapping interests that favour war/imperialism and ignore the destruction of this planet (the only planet we have and will ever deem inhabitable for human life), the public is limited to “saying” little of significance.

This election cycle is a bit different however. As far as Techrights is concerned, we’ve seen major regressions in the way patent reform was handled and even thwarted.

I work for MAFIAAHours ago we learned that Mr. Iancu, the mole (a Donald Trump associate) at the USPTO, is looking to crush patent quality by looking for more excuses to weaken Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), in defiance of what high courts (Federal Circuit and SCOTUS) have repeatedly ruled. This isn’t the exception from this regime. It’s just more of the same. The past 4 years have been a rollercoaster of crimes, corruption, nepotism, and cover-up. Those who choose to vote for the “lesser evil” next month are basically giving a big middle finger (and a loud “FUCK YOU!”) to all that.

We’re not telling people how to vote. But we merely convey the simple fact that this regime — as far as technology and patents go — is on our very opposite side. US citizens cannot end plutocracy, but if once in 4 years they can make a little difference, then why the heck not?

[Meme] Microsoft Never ‘Brought’ Skype to GNU/Linux (It Just Bought Skype) and It Never ‘Brought’ Edge to GNU/Linux Either (Google Did)

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gets browser from convicted monopolist based on code that already worked on GNU/Linux all along

Summary: Foolish media or gullible ‘journalists’ are giving Microsoft credit for other people’s work; this isn’t the first time either, but it helps perpetuate lies such as “Microsoft loves Linux” (so who cares about facts anyway?)

It’s Going to be a Long, Long Winter

Posted in Site News at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lamps in winter

Summary: Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we’re reflecting and pondering what comes next

THE “TIER 3″ restrictions are in effect here in Manchester as of 2 hours ago (expect national debt to soar even further). The problem isn’t uniquely Mancunian or British; 1,796 COVID-19 (linked or caused) deaths were registered across Europe yesterday, including 290 in Russia (Eurasia). That’s quite a lot. With 474,412 new cases at the time of writing (the number will continue to grow a little while I type this), we’re also talking about all-time highs all across the board (the US has registered the highest number of new cases since July).

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching.”People who believe that COVID is “nothing” or “no worse than the flu” might want to skip this article altogether and reassess where they get their “news”. We won’t waste time on COVID denialists/deniers. Hardly worth the effort (and by the way, we have vaccination for the flu… since ages ago, so we don’t need to lock down during ‘flu seasons’).

The economic impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching. We try hard to focus on ramifications that are limited to technology and tech-rights-type issues. Because there’s plenty of good journalism about COVID in general (lots included in our Daily Links), as well as poor coverage, which extends to surveillance jingoism. Look what Russia is doing

Beach in winterThe way things stand, no vaccination is expected any time soon (just as real experts predicted, unlike vaccine profiteers such as Bill Gates). This means that people generally need to get accustomed to it, not work towards some imaginary deadline where COVID just sort of ‘vanishes’ and becomes a thing of the past. By the way, don’t for a second believe the figures from China (which are as dubious as North Korea’s for a number of rather obvious reasons). A lot of dictatorships want their country to be seen as “doing a good job” regarding COVID; so distorting the statistics is seen as “OK” (it’s not like there’s press freedom to hold the regime accountable and question “official” messages). Considering what Donald Trump did to the CDC and FDA some months ago, the American reporting is suspect as well. See “Amid Trump’s Politicization of FDA, California Joins New York in Vowing to Independently Review Coronavirus Vaccines” (the same should be true in Russia, whose dictator refuses to even consider another lock-down as infection rates increase).

The leader of Germany (a doctor herself) once predicted, based on informed experts, that by the time it all ‘ends’ about 2/3 of the population will have had COVID-19 and the goal was to improve survival (recovery) rates, e.g. by lowering the spread of the virus. Well, yesterday Germany blasted through infection records (12,519 cases in a day) and registered its 10,000th COVID-linked death. Even countries that were regarded as very good at dealing with COVID-19 are struggling. Switzerland, with a population estimated at 8.6 million, registered 5,256 new cases yesterday alone. Death rates across Eastern Europe, not just Western Europe (Spain, France, Belgium, UK etc.), are rapidly increasing. There’s no “herd immunity” and other such malarkey; if it sweeps across 90% of the world’s population, we’re looking at many millions of deaths and no access to hospitals (with ventilators/respirators). Forget about going to hospitals for cancer screenings and other mundane issues, including easily preventable and trivially treatable conditions. Foreseeing the borderline collapse of the existing system and the capacity to treat patients, back in March I completed a series of routine tests. It might take another year or two before anything resembling normalcy. That’s the medical aspect, put apart.

Winter FashionNow, what about technology? The ‘tech’ monopolists like to pretend that it’s business as usual, but they silently lay off a lot of staff, shut off units (sometimes reassigning existing stuff to other projects), and take government bailouts (i.e. more more from the taxpayers). Things are always worse (much, much grimmer) than what corporations tell the public about themselves. I know about Microsoft, for instance, based on what insiders told me. They’re bleeding. Law firms are also bleeding — to the point of nowadays resorting to totally frivolous actions that are aggressive in nature and illogical in practice (they don’t expect to win, they just want a fight).

2-3 months of worldwide lock-downs (with few exceptions) may have given a false sense of calm or the craved-for idea that COVID-19 was ‘contained’ and brought “under control” (yes, good luck doing that when a lot of the population still believes it’s merely a “hoax”, based on social control media posts from ‘influencers’ like Donald Trump).

Winter SnowmanIt’s hard to tell when Manchester (and Lancashire at large) will exit “Tier 3″, seeing that Wales is “joining the club” and more places shut down than re-open (as of minutes ago we have headlines such as “Wales lockdown: Supermarkets told to sell only essential items”). Get ready for a long, cold winter with little access to health and certainly no celebrations (Halloween already looks doomed, not just Christmas and New Year celebrations). The upside for us is that we’ll likely have even more time to research and publish articles. It’s not entirely clear yet what in Manchester will shut down and which places exactly remain open (some have not decided).

TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as ‘News’

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Real damage is being done by such sites, which distort journalism in the name of selling ads and rogue agenda

Summary: TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It’s just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of “news”; today we deal with the latest example (among many).

PUTTING ASIDE the anti-GNU/Linux bias of TechRadar, there’s a bigger issue. The site has almost always had an anti-journalism aspect as well. They’re not into accuracy, only whatever gets people to click, watch ads, and be spied on (for personal data to be sold). It’s well overdue for us to discuss this. We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies). There isn’t even a disclosure. They don’t bother because it would do more damage than good (honesty would be outweighed by the financial harm and damage to their credibility).

“We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies).”Our objective here isn’t to give an extensive list of FUD examples. In the past month alone TechRadar published several highly misleading FUD pieces about GNU/Linux and we’ve mostly ignored these (trying not to send provocateurs who lie any traffic at all). We’ll focus only on the example above, for this example is hours old and it’s timed (not dated) several hours before the actual release.

So what’s the big deal?

It actually is a big deal.

No, you don't! That's why you ask for consent to violate privacyBecause today we once again see people who announce a Ubuntu release prematurely, probably just for traffic through clickbait (the author knew it hadn’t been released yet). It really ought to stop. TechRadar is a clickbait site disguised as “news” and there are actual victims. The fact that it was today’s main/sole culprit isn’t particularly surprising. Unlike sites which said things like “Ubuntu to be released late today” (that’s an accurate thing to say), TechRadar was ‘announcing’ a Ubuntu release before it actually happened. Which is opportunistic fake news.

“Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released.”How many people relayed the headline, in effect misinforming other people (for instance, in social control media)?

I was hawking to see which site would be first among the offenders, knowing there was always certainly going to be at least once offender.

I’ve used or experimented with Ubuntu since its very first release in 2004. They typically make their release announcements later in the day (end of business days), quite often on Thursdays (not before weekends, just in case of show-stopping incidents that necessitate intervention). Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released. Some even link directly to mirrors that are still work in progress (with possibly mislabeled or partial ISOs, services still going up and down, limited workload/bandwidth capacity, undergoing preparation and configuration etc.).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers.”People who prematurely ‘announce’ such GNU/Linux releases don’t just piss off the distro makers. Which they do by the way (this is no secret). They do a lot of technical and practical damage (which has many angles and aspects).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers. TechRadar is likely aware of it, but it’s hoping nobody will publicly point this out.

Links 22/10/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.7, Septor 2020.5, Ubuntu 20.10 Released, FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report

Posted in News Roundup at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • When “progress” is backwards

      Lately I see many developments in the linux FOSS world that sell themselves as progress, but are actually hugely annoying and counter-productive.

      Counter-productive to a point where they actually cause major regressions, costs, and as in the case of GTK+3 ruin user experience and the possibility that we’ll ever enjoy “The year of the Linux desktop”.

      [...]

      We live in an era where in the FOSS world one constantly has to relearn things, switch to new, supposedly “better”, but more bloated solutions, and is generally left with the impression that someone is pulling the rug from below one’s feet. Many of the key changes in this area have been rammed through by a small set of decision makers, often closely related to Red Hat/Gnome/freedesktop.org. We’re buying this “progress” at a high cost, and one can’t avoid asking oneself whether there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Never forget, Red Hat and Microsoft (TM) are partners and might even have the same shareholders.

    • When “progress” is backwards
    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 10 Linux Based Mini PCs to Buy in 2020

        It won’t be wrong to say that mini PCs have all the potential in the world to take over the computer market shortly. Not only do they save a lot of space on your computer desk but also work in a very power-efficient manner while also causing less noise. Although they could be a tad more expensive than regular desktop PCs, they will actually save you some money in the long run.

        With that being said, one thing that should be noted here is that most of these mini PCs are not as powerful as your regular desktop computers when it comes to processing power, memory size, and storage space. Accordingly, users who don’t plan on either gaming or video editing should definitely give these computers a shot.

        The 10 Best Linux-based Mini PCs

        Mini PCs aren’t anything new since they’ve been in the computer market for quite a while now. However, the number of such computers that have optimal support for Linux distros is still relatively small. So, in this article, we’re going to do all the research for you and provide you with some of the best Linux-based mini PCs out there right now.

      • System76 Launches Quad-GPU Linux Workstation

        Denver-based System76 has launched the powerful new Thelio Mega, calling it the world’s smallest quad-GPU Linux workstation.

        The Thelio Mega workstation, which is priced starting at US $7,499, incorporates advanced technologies and high-performance components that make it ideal for deep learning and scientific computing.

    • Server

      • Production-Ready Notebooks for End-to-End ML Workflows With Kubeflow

        Machine Learning projects consist of several distinct steps: first, data validation verifies the state of the collected data. Processing prepares the features so an algorithm can consume them. Model training makes learning feasible, and model validation guarantees generalization. Fine-tuning adjusts the hyper-parameters to obtain the optimum results. Finally, after numerous iterations, the last step deploys a model to staging or production.

        Each of these steps can be a separate process, running at its own cadence, with well-defined inputs and outputs. Thus, data scientists and ML engineers tend to think of these projects like pipelines. If there is something wrong with incoming information, the process could fail or even worse corrupt downstream analytic tasks. Thus, standardizing the process of creating these interconnected actions can make the pipeline more robust.

        In this article, we demonstrate how to turn Jupyter Notebooks into Kubeflow Pipelines and Katib Experiments automatically. Such a system eliminates the erroneous process of manually extracting the bits that make sense in a Notebook, containerize them and launching a Pipeline using explicit Domain-Specific Languages.

      • Support for Istio 1.6 ends on November 21st, 2020

        According to Istio’s support policy, LTS releases like 1.6 are supported for three months after the next LTS release. Since 1.7 was released on August 21st, support for 1.6 will end on November 21st, 2020.

        At that point we will stop back-porting fixes for security issues and critical bugs to 1.6, so we encourage you to upgrade to the latest version of Istio (1.7.3). If you don’t do this you may put yourself in the position of having to do a major upgrade on a short timeframe to pick up a critical fix.

      • Cloud Foundry Foundation Announces Project Updates

        The Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) has announced the release of version 1.0 of cf-for-k8s, the release of version 2.5 of KubeCF, and the release of version 4.2 of Stratos.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Leaping Lizard People | Coder Radio 384

        It’s confession hour on the podcast, and your hosts surprise each other with several twists and turns.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 876

        repairing 3ds, power issues, ubuntu 20.10, games

      • Episode #287 Testing without dependencies, mocking in Python – [Talk Python To Me Podcast]

        We know our unit tests should be relatively independent from other parts of the system. For example, running a test shouldn’t generally call a credit card possessing API and talk to a database when your goal is just to test the argument validation.

        And yet, your method does all three of those and more. What do you do? Some languages use elaborate dependency passing frameworks that go under the banner of inversion of control (IoC) and dependency injections (DI). In Python, the most common fix is to temporarily redefine what those two functions do using patching and mocking.

        On this episode, we welcome back Anna-Lena Pokes to talk us through the whole spectrum of test doubles, dummies, mocks, and more.

      • FLOSS Weekly 601: Open Source Creative – Blender, Gimp, Audacity

        Looking at open source software from a creative lens and discussing the importance and ease of using open-source software to make art, graphics, video, and more. Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennett talk with Jason van Gumster a creator, engineer, and host of the podcast, Open Source Creative. They talk about the positive side of customizing your workplace with open source software such as Blender, Gimp, Hydrogen, and Audacity. They also discuss the simplicity of open source creative software support and the great community surrounding open source creative software.

      • Ubuntu Podcast S13E31 – Cheers with water

        This week we’ve been upgrading computers and Ebaying stuff. We discuss the Windows Calculator coming to Linux, Microsoft Edge browser coming to Linux, Ubuntu Community Council elections and LibreOffice office getting Yaru icons. We also round up our picks from the general tech news.

      • Review – The Verix 9100 Linux Laptop from ZaReason

        Time for another laptop review! This time I have the Verix 9100 in the studio sent over from ZaReason, an awesome local Linux laptop vendor that has some great hardware available.

      • BSD Now #373: Kyle Evans Interview

        We have an interview with Kyle Evans for you this week. We talk about his grep project, lua and flua in base, as well as bectl, being on the core team and a whole lot of other stuff.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Developers Discussing Possible Kernel Driver For Intel CPU Undervolting

        While the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) on Windows allows for undervolting laptop processors, currently on Linux there isn’t any Intel-endorsed way for undervolting your CPU should you be interested in better thermal/power efficiency and other factors. But a hypothetical Linux kernel driver could be coming for filling such void.

        There does exist the intel-undervolt program that is unofficial and developed by an independent developer for undervolting Intel CPUs from Haswell and newer on Linux. Besides dropping the CPU voltage, it also allows manipulating the throttling power/thermal limits for Intel processors. That intel-undervolt functionality relies on reverse-engineering and discoveries made by the community for the support. That program in turn is touching the CPU MSRs directly for manipulating the behavior.

      • The Closed-Source NVIDIA Linux Driver Is Incompatible With Linux 5.9 And Support Won’t Come Until Mid-November

        The latest Nvidia graphics driver for Linux, v455.28, won’t work with the latest Linux kernel. This may be due to an intentional change on the Linux kernel side that blocks third party shims from using GPL-only symbols. Regardless of the root cause, anyone using Nvidia on Linux should stick with Linux 5.8 for now. Nvidia has promised that an updated driver compatible with Linux 5.9 will arrive mid-November.

        [...]

        Using the closed-source proprietary software driver from Nvidia used to be a total nightmare on Linux. It would only work with Xorg version X and kernel version Y and if you were screwed if you upgraded either of those. That’s been less of a problem in recent years. now we’re once again back to Nvidia’s driver dictating what kernel versions those who own their hardware can and can’t use.

      • Live Embedded Event: a new online conference – Bootlin’s blog

        In these times of COVID19, pretty much all of the existing conferences have moved to an online format. For example, the Embedded Linux Conference Europe is going to take place next week, online, and Bootlin will significantly contribute to the event with no less than 7 talks on a wide range of topics.

        But this trend for online conferences has also spurred the creation of new events. And specifically, we’re happy to announce the creation of a new conference oriented towards our favorite topic of embedded systems: Live Embedded Event. It will take place online on December 3 and will have a broader range of topics covered than ELC typically has, as Live Embedded Event is open to non-Linux embedded topics, hardware platform and interfaces discussions, and more.

      • The ABI status of filesystem formats [LWN.net]

        One of the key rules of Linux kernel development is that the ABI between the kernel and user space cannot be broken; any change that breaks previously working programs will, outside of exceptional circumstances, be reverted. The rule seems clear, but there are ambiguities when it comes to determining just what constitutes the kernel ABI; tracepoints are a perennial example of this. A recent discussion has brought another one of those ambiguities to light: the on-disk format of Linux filesystems.
        Users reporting kernel regressions will receive a varying amount of sympathy, depending on where the regression is. For normal user-space programs using the system-call API, that sympathy is nearly absolute, and changes that break things will need to be redone. This view of the ABI also extends to the virtual filesystems, such as /proc and sysfs, exported by the kernel. Changes that break things are deemed a little more tolerable when they apply to low-level administrative tools; if there is only one program that is known to use an interface, and that program has been updated, the change may be allowed. On the other hand, nobody will be concerned about changes that break out-of-tree kernel modules; the interface they used is considered to be internal to the kernel and not subject to any stability guarantee.

        But those are not the only places where user space interfaces with the kernel. Consider, for example, this regression report from Josh Triplett. It seems that an ext4 filesystem bug fix merged for 5.9-rc2 breaks the mounting of some ext4 filesystems that he works with.

      • NFS Client With Linux 5.10 Adds “READ_PLUS” For Faster Performance – Phoronix

        The NFS client code with Linux 5.10 has another performance optimization.

        The NFS client code now supports the READ_PLUS operation supported by NFS v4.2 and later. READ_PLUS is a variant of READ that supports efficiently transferring holes. In cases where READ_PLUS is supported by both the NFS client and server, this operation should always be used rather than READ.

      • NAPI polling in kernel threads

        Systems that manage large amounts of network traffic end up dedicating a significant part of their available CPU time to the network stack itself. Much of this work is done in software-interrupt context, which can be problematic in a number of ways. That may be about to change, though, once this patch series posted by Wei Wang is merged into the mainline.
        Once a packet arrives on a network interface, the kernel must usually perform a fair amount of protocol-processing work before the data in that packet can be delivered to the user-space application that is waiting for it. Once upon a time, the network interface would interrupt the CPU when a packet arrived; the kernel would acknowledge the interrupt, then trigger a software interrupt to perform this processing work. The problem with this approach is that, on busy systems, thousands of packets can arrive every second; handling the corresponding thousands of hardware interrupts can run the system into the ground.

        The solution to this problem was merged in 2003 in the form of a mechanism that was called, at the time, “new API” or “NAPI”. Drivers that support NAPI can disable the packet-reception interrupt most of the time and rely on the network stack to poll for new packets at a frequent interval. Polling may seem inefficient, but on busy systems there will always be new packets by the time the kernel polls for them; the driver can then process all of the waiting packets at once. In this way, one poll can replace dozens of hardware interrupts.

      • Some 5.9 kernel development statistics [LWN.net]

        The 5.9 kernel was released on October 11, at the end of a ten-week development cycle — the first release to take more than nine weeks since 5.4 at the end of 2019. While this cycle was not as busy as 5.8, which broke some records, it was still one of the busier ones we have seen in some time, featuring 14,858 non-merge changesets contributed by 1,914 developers. Read on for our traditional look at what those developers were up to while creating the 5.9 release.

        Of the 1,914 developers contributing to 5.9, 306 made their first contribution for this release. This is the largest number of new contributors we have seen since 4.12 (which had 334 first-time contributors) was released in 2017 and, indeed, the second-highest number ever seen. All together, the 5.9 contributors added just over 730,000 lines of code and removed nearly 262,000 for a net growth of 468,000 lines of code.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Ships Vulkan Driver Beta With Fragment Shading Rate Control – Phoronix

          This week’s Vulkan 1.2.158 spec release brought the fragment shading rate extension to control the rate at which fragments are shaded on a per-draw, per-primitive, or per-region basis. This can be useful similar to OpenGL and Direct3D support for helping to allow different, less important areas of the screen be shaded less than areas requiring greater detail/focus.

          NVIDIA on Tuesday released the 455.26.02 Linux driver (and 457.00 version for Windows) that adds this fragment shading rate extension.

        • Intel Begins Adding Alder Lake Graphics Support To Their Linux Driver – Phoronix

          Intel has begun adding support for Alderlake-S to their open-source Linux kernel graphics driver.

          An initial set of 18 patches amounting to just around 300 lines of new kernel code was sent out today for beginning the hardware enablement work on Alderlake-S from the graphics side.

          Yes, it’s only a few hundred lines of new driver code due to Alder Lake leveraging the existing Gen12/Tigerlake support. The Alder Lake driver patches similarly re-use some of the same workarounds and changes as set for the 14nm Rocket Lake processors with Gen12 graphics coming out in Q1.

        • AMD Linux Driver Preparing For A Navi “Blockchain” Graphics Card – Phoronix

          While all eyes are on the AMD Radeon RX 6000 “Big Navi” graphics cards set to be announced next week, it also looks like AMD is preparing for a Navi 1x “Blockchain” graphics card offering given the latest work in their open-source Linux driver.

          Patches posted today provide support for a new Navi graphics card referred to as the “navi10 blockchain SKU.”

          The Navi 10 part has a device ID of 0x731E. From the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver perspective, the only difference from the existing Navi 10 GPU support is these patches disable the Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) support with this new SKU not having any display support.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.0.1 Released – Phoronix

        Following last week’s big Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 and the new OpenBenchmarking.org, a small update is out this week to address some initial hiccups.

        Phoronix Test Suite 10.0.1 fixes support if using the stock PHP package of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7 / CentOS 7) and other distributions relying on dated versions of PHP that there could be an error on installation of tests.

    • Applications

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source Console Web Browsers

        A web browser is the quintessential desktop application. Everyone needs one, and there is not a desktop Linux distribution around that does not make a web browser available.

        This type of software application is responsible for retrieving and presenting information held on the World Wide Web, a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet. Web browsers allow users to view web pages which often contain a mixture of text, images, videos, and other multimedia.

      • Note-Taking App Simplenote 2.0 Released With Support For Internal Links, More – Linux Uprising Blog

        The Simplenote Electron desktop application has received a major update yesterday. The new 2.0.0 version includes a rewrite “of some key parts of the app, as well as replacing the editor component and adding support for internal links”.

        Simplenote is a note-taking application with optional Markdown support. There are applications for desktops (Linux, Windows and macOS), iOS and Android, and there’s also a web client. The Simplenote applications are free and open source software, but the server is not (though there’s no cost in using it to sync notes).

        Originally created by Simperium back in 2008, Simplenote is developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, etc., since 2013.

        Simplenote features include notes version history, instant search and search by tags, public note links, optional Makrdown support, different note views, light and dark themes, and the ability to export notes.

      • Auto-Suspend Inactive X11 Applications To Reduce CPU And Battery Usage With XSuspender

        XSuspender is a tool to suspend X11 applications when they are inactive. Its purpose is to reduce CPU usage, which in turn reduces the battery usage, and decreases the CPU temperature and fan noise.

        The tool uses SIGSTOP, which prevents the process from obtaining further CPU time, or a custom shell script that you can specify, to suspend an application after its window loses focus. When the window regains focus, it’s immediately resumed so you can continue from where you left off.

      • CopyQ: A Clipboard Manager That Does Everything?? – YouTube

        I’ve tried out a bunch of different Linux clipboard managers and all of them seem to have some incredibly important missing feature whether that be image support, or anything else you may want in a clipboard history manager but today we’re checking out Copyq which is probably the closest thing to complete that I’ve seen thus far.

      • GoAccess (A Real-Time Apache and Nginx) Web Server Log Analyzer

        GoAccess is an interactive and real-time web server log analyzer program that quickly analyze and view web server logs. It comes as an open-source and runs as a command line in Unix/Linux operating systems. It provides brief and beneficial HTTP (webserver) statistics report for Linux administrators on the fly. It also takes care of both the Apache and Ngnix web server log formats.

        GoAccess parses and analyze the given web server log formats in preferred options including CLF (Common Log Format), W3C format (IIS), and Apache virtual hosts, and then generate an output of the data to the terminal.

      • Incremental backup with Butterfly Backup

        This article explains how to make incremental or differential backups, with a catalog available to restore (or export) at the point you want, with Butterfly Backup.

      • Identify Songs On Your Linux Desktop Using SongRec, A Shazam Client For Linux

        SongRec is an open source Shazam client for Linux. It’s written in Rust, with the GUI using Gtk3.

        Using the Shazam audio fingerprinting algorithm, this application can identify a song from an audio file or using the microphone. MP3, FLAC, WAV and OGG formats are supported.

        This works by analyzing the captured sound, be it from the microphone or and audio file, and seeking a match based on an acoustic fingerprint in a database of millions of songs. Most of the processing is done server-side (so SongRec connects to the Shazam servers). When finding a match in the Shazam database, SongRec shows the artist, song and album names, as well as the date when the recognition was done. All recognized songs are kept in a history list that you can export to CSV or wipe.

        Shazam is a music recognition application own by Apple, available for Android, iOS, watchOS and macOS. It can identify music based on a short sample, provided that the background noise level is not high enough to prevent an acoustic fingerprint being taken, and that the song is present in the software’s database.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Install MultiPass on Ubuntu : A good VM Manager – LinuxTechLab

        Multipass is a very lightweight VM manager that can be used to launch & manage VMs with a single Linux command. It is available on Linux, macOS as well as Windows. On Windows, it used Hyper-V, on Linux, it uses KVM & on Mac it used HyperKit.

        It can simulate a cloud environment with the support of cloud-init. It helps to create a new development or testing environment with ease. It also supports VirtualBox on macOS & Linux also. In this tutorial, we will learn how to install Multipass on Ubuntu

      • How to install Java on Manjaro Linux

        Many developers and programmers choose Manjaro because it’s one of the most user-friendly and feature-rich Linux distributions. In this guide, we go over the steps to install the Java Development Kit on Manjaro Linux. We’ll show you how to install both the OpenJDK package (which is free and GPL-licensed) as well as Oracle Java SE Development Kit.

        Arch Linux and Manjaro only officially support the OpenJDK, as that is the non-proprietary version. However, the Oracle package can be installed from the AUR, as you’ll see shortly.

      • Lenovo ThinkPad Booting GNU/Linux USB

        Lenovo ThinkPad users can boot USB drives finely. As Ubuntu Buzz often publishes booting articles, now let’s learn how to practice that on computers using ThinkPad as example. By making this tutorial I hope I give abilities to all computer users who didn’t know yet they can do this amazing thing. Let’s go!

      • How to install Arduino IDE on CentOS 8

        Arduino IDE stands for the “Arduino Integrated Development Environment”. Arduino is used to create electronic devices that communicate with their environment using actuators and sensors. Arduino IDE contains an editor that is used for writing and uploading programs to the Arduino board. Before start to create projects through Arduino, the user needs to set up an IDE for the programmable board.

        In this article, we will learn how to install the latest Arduino IDE on CentOS 8.

      • Vincent Fourmond: QSoas tips and tricks: generating smooth curves from a fit

        Often, one would want to generate smooth data from a fit over a small number of data points. For an example, take the data in the following file. It contains (fake) experimental data points that obey to Michaelis-Menten kinetics: $$v = \frac{v_m}{1 + K_m/s}$$ in which \(v\) is the measured rate (the y values of the data), \(s\) the concentration of substrate (the x values of the data), \(v_m\) the maximal rate and \(K_m\) the Michaelis constant.

        [...]

        Now, with the fit, we have reasonable values for \(v_m\) (vm) and \(K_m\) (km). But, for publication, one would want to generate “smooth” curve going through the lines… Saving the curve from “Data…/Save all” doesn’t help, since the data has as many points as the original data and looks very “jaggy” (like on the screenshot above)… So one needs a curve with more data points.

      • Switching Xorg keyboard layout on OpenBSD

        Here’s a few minimalistic options to switch keyboard layout on OpenBSD.

      • Update all Docker Images
      • The Baseline

        Writing your technical documentation so it is easy to understand is good. This does not mean you have to remove information or “dumb down” your text. Often it just means moving things around, changing the focus of a few sentences, or expanding a couple of paragraphs. The content remains the same. What changes is the way you present it.

        But if you still need convincing on why you should bother going that extra mile, let’s run through some of the reasons.

        The truth is you never really know who your audience is going to be or how much they know. Internal documentation, aimed initially at a very specific group of people, is often pushed out elsewhere because “it is good enough”, or “we don’t have time (or money) to change it”, or someone found it on the Internet and simply started using it and linking to it.

        Hence, your documentation will most certainly be used in more ways than you originally anticipated. Your technical manual can get recycled into a user manual, for example. Or Darryl, from sales, may need to convince clients of the benefits of the product, and all he has to build his case on is your technical manual.

        [...]

        You could’ve written that paragraph more formally and it would’ve still been easier to understand than the original. Note also how the re-written version contains essentially the same information as the original. The original is just obtuse.

        Dig out a baseline to kick off your text, yes, but also every time you are about to begin a new section, any time you introduce a new topic, or simply have a tricky paragraph you are not sure how to approach.

        The baseline will help you focus your text, making the usefulness of what you are describing clearer to the reader throughout. The aim is that your reader, regardless of their level of technical knowledge, can always come away with a broad idea of what you are talking about.

        If you start by listing features or the libraries used, stating what the thing is instead of what it is used for, or forgetting about your audience entirely (and all these things happen waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more often than you think), the chances of you never getting through but to a small number of readers is virtually guaranteed.

      • 12 Tips to improve GNU/Linux server security | LibreByte

        Any server or device with a public IP address becomes a target for attackers. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to harden the security in order to neutralize any malicious activity, here are 12 tips that will help you improve the security of your server.

      • Create Windows 10 Install Media (USB flash drive) on Linux
      • How to install Teamviewer on Ubuntu 20.04 via command line – Linux Shout

        Here are the commands to install TeamViewer on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux using the official repository of this free remote desktop software

      • How To Install Apache Subversion on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial we will show you how to install Apache Subversion on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, as well as some extra required package by Apache

      • Install Bacula Backup Server on Ubuntu 20.04

        Bacula is an open-source backup tool that can be used to backup and restore data across the network. It is simple and easy to use tool, and offers many advanced storage management features that help you to backup and recover your lost files easily. It supports Linux, Windows and macOS backup client and also supports a wide range of backup devices. Bacula is made from several components including, Bacula directory, Bacula, console, Bacula storage, Bacula file and Bacula catalog. Each components are responsible for managing specific jobs.

      • How to Run Android on Linux Using Virtual Machine | Beebom

        Learn how to run Android on Linux using Virtual Machine. You can install Android apps and games on Linux and the performance will be better than emulators.

      • How to Use AppImage on Linux (Beginner Guide) – TecAdmin

        The Linux system uses a package manager tool with central repositories like Apt, Yum etc. Which is the traditional way for the applications installation on any Linux system.

        Some of the application comes with extension .appimage. It may be, you are not much aware about these files.

        In this tutorial you will learn about the AppImage file. Also you will found details to how to install and use AppImage files on a Linux machine.

      • How to Change Color Schemes in Vim

        Vim is a text editor that can be used to edit all kinds of plain text, especially useful for writing and editing programs. It is also one of the customizable text editors heavily used in Linux operating system.

        The suitable color in the editor helps you to categorize, analyze and identify bug in the code. You can change color schemes that come with the software package or install vim themes.

        We are going to use and set Vim color schemes in centos 7 or 8. Though the tutorial is prepared on centos 8, the procedure is same for all the Linux distribution.

      • How to check TLS/SSL certificate expiration date from command-line – nixCraft

        Explains how to check the TLS/SSL certificate expiration date from Linux or Unix CLI and send an email alert using a simple script.

      • How to develop Gstreamer-based video conferencing apps for RDK & Linux set-top boxes

        CNXSoft: This is a guest post by Promwad that explains the basic steps to develop a video conferencing app with Gstreamer on TV boxes running Linux.

      • GStreamer 1.16.3 old-stable bug fix release

        The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the third and likely last bug fix release in the stable 1.16 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

        This release contains important security fixes. We suggest you upgrade at your earliest convenience, either to 1.16.3 or 1.18.

      • How to install the Fluent GTK theme on Linux

        The Fluent GTK theme aims to bring the Windows design style to Linux. It comes in two themes: dark and light, and honestly does an excellent job of giving Linux users a “Windows-like experience.” Here’s how to set it up on your system.

      • How to Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a Video Conferencing Station – Make Tech Easier

        With the advent of working and schooling from home, more people are turning toward video conferencing as a way to get things done. Using tools like Google Meet and Zoom, we can keep in touch with people across cities, time zones, and even countries and continents, making the world much smaller and allowing for collaboration in ways we never thought of before. However, if you’re looking for another great Raspberry Pi project, I can’t recommend a video conferencing station enough. In this tutorial we show you how to turn your Raspberry PI into a video conferencing station.

      • Magento Tips & Tricks for Better Performance – RoseHosting

        Most web hosting providers provide either Linux or Windows server hosting. The type of operating system you need depends on what kind of language and database you plan to use with your website.

        Linux is a command-line operating system and everything on it, including PHP should (and almost always does) work better on Linux. Linux is a free and secure operating system and provides ready-to-use software to power your website.

      • How to Setup FTP Server with Vsftpd on Raspberry Pi | Linuxize

        This tutorial explains how to install and configure an FTP server on Raspberry Pi that you use to share files between your devices.

      • Linux / UNIX Desktop Fun: Terminal ASCII Aquarium

        You can now enjoy mysteries of the sea from the safety of your own terminal using ASCIIQuarium. It is an aquarium/sea animation in ASCII art created using perl.

      • How to Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7.9 (No GUI) on VMware Workstation – SysAdmin

        This video tutorial shows how to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7.9 (No GUI) on VMware Workstation step by step.

      • How To Install Apache OpenOffice on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial we will show you how to install Apache OpenOffice on CentOS 8, as well as some extra required package by Apache OpenOffice

    • Games

      • Atomix: A Molecule Building Game for Chemistry Nerds

        Atomix is built for Gnome desktops for Linux and Unix systems. However, if you in something similar you can try Atomiks for Windows and Linux desktops.

      • Robot grappling-magnet platformer Get-A-Grip Chip is out now and I’m hooked | GamingOnLinux

        A platformer where you can’t jump? Well, it’s been done before but not quite like this. Get-A-Grip Chip is out now and it’s a wonderfully unique indie game worth your time. Note: key sent by the developer.

        Thing is, grappling hooks have been done before too, and there’s a number of excellent games with it. Get-A-Grip Chip is still different though, as the grapple is a big magnet on your robot head and you can only use it at specific points. The challenge here is getting in range of each point, to hop between them all. The result is a game that’s seriously charming, while also proving to be a good challenge.

      • GDScript progress report: Typed instructions

        It’s been a while my last report because this particular task took me more time than I anticipated. GDScript now got a much needed optimization.

        Bug fixes

        Between my last report and this one I’ve been fixing many bugs in GDScript. While not thorough, it should be stable enough to not crash all the time. I am aware that a lot of bugs remain, but I’ll iron them out when the features are complete.

        As I said before, if you found a bug not yet reported make sure to open a new issue so I can be aware of it.

        [...]

        I know many of you have been waiting for this. GDScript has had optional typing for quite a while, but so far it had only been for validation in the compilation phase. Now we’re finally getting some performance boost at runtime.

        Note that some optimized instructions are applied with type inference but to enjoy the most benefit you have to use static typing for everything (you also get safer code, so it’s a plus).

      • Minecraft Java will move to Microsoft accounts in 2021, gets new social screen [Ed: Can Microsoft use Minecraft Java to attack Java itself?]
      • Classic 3D RTS ‘Machines: Wired for War’ goes open source under the GPL

        Machines: Wired for War is a true classic 3D RTS from the late 90s, and it appears to now be open source under the GPL and up on GitHub. This was in the list of actually being one of the first proper 3D games of the genre, although not as well known as many other RTS games.

        Back in 2019, one dedicated fan posted on their website about how they managed to grab a copy of the source, update it a bit and port it to modern platforms (Linux included). The actual rights to the game appear to sit with Nightdive Studios now, and they appear to have given the greenlight on open sourcing the code from that same fan which they’ve now listed on their own official GitHub.

      • Stellaris gets spooky with the Necroids Species Pack on October 29 | GamingOnLinux

        The latest expansion pack for Stellaris arrives on October 29 and it’s going to get a little spooky with the Necroids Species Pack. Diving into the darker side of the galaxy, the expansion comes with as you prepare to meet the Necroids, an intelligent species who believe that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of their journey.

        Necroids are known to spend their days excitedly studying in preparation for their eventual “transformation” in the Elevation Chamber. They’re not exactly the nicest bunch, and they certainly look the part too.

      • Stadia gets exclusive HUMANKIND beta, ARK: Survival Evolved heading to Stadia Pro + more | GamingOnLinux

        Day 2 of 3 down for the Stadia event (see day 1 here), with multiple new announcements to go through of new games coming and extras playable right now.

        Starting off with the big one, Stadia has an exclusive Beta of HUMANKIND, the upcoming 4x strategy game that’s been likened to a Civilization-killer. Not only is it coming to Stadia, just like they did with the PAC-MAN battle royale title from yesterday anyone with a Google account can just jump on in right now and play it until October 28.

      • The Steam Digital Tabletop Fest is now live with sales, streams and more | GamingOnLinux

        Ready to fill your Steam Library full of awesome games once again or perhaps try out a demo or two? You might want to pull up a seat to the digital table then, as the Steam Digital Tabletop Fest is now live. This special event features nearly 40 hours of livestreams, virtual let’s plays, panels, talks and so much more.

        The idea, done in partnership with Auroch Digital is to show off games that “explore the fusion between physical and digital games”.

        For this event, they even made a trailer which is pretty unusual and goes to show how much Valve has changed over the years as they continue working with more developers on events like this. This is actually one of the biggest events I believe they’ve ever done.

      • Fast, challenging and you can run up walls to slice up enemies – ScourgeBringer is out | GamingOnLinux

        ScourgeBringer is a fast-paced action rogue-lite that has you run from room to room slicing and dicing through enemies, and it makes you feel awesome.

        Flying Oak Games, who previously made NeuroVoider, describe it as a “free-moving roguelite platformer” which doesn’t really do it much justice. You’re one of the last surviving humans, fighting through the ScourgeBringer, some kind of almighty weapon with a whole lot of random rooms inside which for some unknown reason decided to decimate the world. You given a big sword, a gun and then sent on your way to save everyone and perhaps redeem humanity. So, no pressure then right?

      • Godot Engine – Dev snapshot: Godot 3.2.4 beta 1

        Godot 3.2.3 was released a month ago and the reception was great! It focused mostly on fixing bugs and therefore we were somewhat conservative on what could be merged before the release.

        Now that we’re confident that 3.2.3 works well, we can take some time to add new features to the 3.2 branch while you wait for Godot 4.0 :)

      • Godot 3.2.4 has a first beta with 2D batching for GLES3 | GamingOnLinux

        Despite the small version bump, Godot 3.2.4 will be quite big release for game developers wanting to squeeze out some more performance.

        The first Beta release is out now, and the Godot team mentioned it’s best to get in and start testing now to ensure your games and Godot as a whole is as good as can be when Godot 3.2.4 is released properly. With 3.2.3 now behind them which added in batching for GLES2, they’re moving to ensure it’s hooked up for GLES3 too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Review

        The Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix brings together Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop with the Ubuntu Core. While some users are welcoming the new flavor of Ubuntu with open arms, others are scratching their heads, wondering where it fits in.

        The main confusion arises when you consider that Cinnamon is the official desktop for Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu. This begs the questions – what is the need for Ubuntu Cinnamon? Why not use Linux Mint, to begin with?

        Even though Mint is based on Ubuntu, there are still many significant differences between the two distros. You can go through our in-depth read on Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu to learn about this.

        Since Ubuntu Cinnamon uses Ubuntu as its core, it works and feels more like Ubuntu rather than Mint, except for the obvious fact that the GNOME shell is replaced with the Cinnamon desktop.

        Furthermore, the developers behind Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix has done an excellent job in translating the Ubuntu aesthetics over to the Cinnamon desktop. You get to see identical icons, the iconic orange color scheme, and the same wallpapers, which helps to retain the same charm.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Setup KOrganizer with Operation Tulip Online Calendar

          Anyone using Kubuntu will see KOrganizer the best desktop calendar and anyone knows internet knows NextCloud technology a complete solution to live online. Now we find Operation Tulip a generous online service for data storage and calendar based on that technology. This tutorial explains how to synchronize your desktop and your online calendar the easy way.

          KOrganizer is a complete desktop calendar similar to Mac’s or Windows’ built-in Calendar application. It works with multiple accounts and supports the popular iCalendar format. It supports colors and categories and is able to work offline. It is developed by KDE.

          NextCloud is latest computing technology in the field of online storage developed from the earlier one named OwnCloud. Any company or organization with enough capacity can make their own Google Online Services such as office suite, storage, mail, calendar, video call, and more simply by installing this on their server. NextCloud is Free Software. It is founded by vice president of KDE.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Septor 2020.5

          Tor Browser is fully installed (10.0.2)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of October 21, 2020
          Update Linux Kernel to 5.9.0-1
          Update Thunderbird to 78.3.1-2
          Update Tor to 0.4.4.5
          Update Youtube-dl to 2020.09.20

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 9.1 released

          NetBSD is an open-source Unix-like operating system. The new release offers a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements.

          New features include parallelized disk encryption with cgd(4), added support for Xen 4.13, various reliability fixes and improvements for ZFS, and more.

          The full list of new features and enhancements is available here.

        • [Old] History of FreeBSD: Part 1: UNIX and BSD

          FreeBSD, a free and open-source Unix-like operating system has been around since 1993. However, its origins are directly linked to that of BSD, and further back, those of Unix. During this History of FreeBSD series, we will talk about how Unix came to be, and how Berkeley’s Unix developed at Bell Labs.

        • FreeBSD Can Now Be Built From Linux/macOS Hosts, Transition To Git Continues

          The FreeBSD project has published their Q3-2020 report on the state of this leading BSD operating system.

          Among the highlights they made during the third quarter include:

          - The FreeBSD Foundation issued additional grants around WiFi and Linux KPI layer improvements, Linux application compatibility improvements with the Linuxulator, DRM/graphics driver updates, Zstd compression for OpenZFS, online RAID-Z expansion, and modernizing the LLDB target support for FreeBSD.

          - FreeBSD Foundation staff members have been working to improve the build infrastructure, ARM64 support, migrating their development tree to Git, rewriting the UNIX domain socket locking, and run-time dynamic linker and kernel ELF loader improvements.

        • FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report – Third Quarter 2020
          FreeBSD Project Quarterly Status Report - Third Quarter 2020
          Introduction
          
             This report covers FreeBSD related projects for the period between July
             and September, and is the third of four planned reports for 2020.
          
             This quarter brings a good mix of additions and changes to the FreeBSD
             Project and community, from a diverse number of teams and people
             covering everything from architectures, continuous integration,
             wireless networking and drivers, over drm, desktop and third-party
             project work, as well as several team reports, along with many other
             interesting subjects too numerous to mention.
          
             As the world is still affected by the epidemic, we hope that this
             report can also serve as a good reminder that there is good work that
             can be done by people working together, even if we're apart.
          
             We hope you'll be as interested in reading it, as we've been in making
             it. Daniel Ebdrup Jensen, on behalf of the quarterly team.
          
        • FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Jump will likely land in openSUSE Leap 15.3

          During the openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual Conference, there were 2 presentations on what’s next for openSUSE Leap. These presentations also touched on Closing the Leap Gap. This is a project which tries to resolve / minimize the differences in packages between openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE), by unifying the code base and the development process. More details on this project can be found here.

          On the 20th October, there was a Go-No Go decision to be made. This decision is documented here. The outcome is also described in the Engineering Meeting Minutes that can be found here. There was a Conditional No Go given on the proposal to create an in-between release called openSUSE Leap 15.2.1. That means that the Jump and Leap unification will most likely happen in Leap 15.3. I think that this is a reasonable decision, which provides a better timeline for the openSUSE and SUSE teams to work out all of the outstanding issues.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM integrates Linux One with R3 Corda Enterprise

          It’s an exciting time for IBM LinuxONE. Over the past several months, we’ve been doubling down on new hardware, Red Hat OpenShift and new Cloud Paks for LinuxONE, and new confidential computing capabilities.

          More than ever, our clients of all sizes looking to win in the era of hybrid cloud are focused on key areas: resiliency, performance demands, security, flexibility and modernization.

          Other areas of growth for LinuxONE are emerging workloads and industries like blockchain and digital asset custody. While the importance of safeguarding business and customer data is well known, the nature of blockchain use cases often include the initiation, transfer and custody of financial assets for your business and your customers—which further increases the importance of building applications with security and privacy first.
          News from R3’s CordaCon

        • Persistent storage in action: Understanding Red Hat OpenShift’s persistent volume framework – Red Hat Developer

          Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform that provides a number of different models you can use to deploy an application. OpenShift 4.x uses Operators to deploy Kubernetes-native applications. It also supports Helm and traditional template-based deployments. Whatever deployment method you choose, it will be deployed as a wrapper to one or more existing OpenShift resources. Examples include BuildConfig, DeploymentConfig, and ImageStream.

          In this article, I introduce you to OpenShift’s Kubernetes-based persistent volume framework for persistent cluster storage. You will learn how to use OpenShift’s PersistentVolume (PV) and PersistentVolumeClaim (PVC) objects to provision and request storage resources.

        • How to use the Linux kernel’s Integrity Measurement Architecture

          The kernel integrity sub-system can be used to detect if a file has been altered (accidently or maliciously), both remotely and/or locally. It does that by appraising a file’s measurement (its hash value) against a “good” value stored previously as an extended attribute (on file systems which support extended attributes like ext3, ext4. etc.). Similar, but complementary, mechanisms are provided by other security technologies like SELinux which depending on policy can attempt to protect file integrity.

          The Linux IMA (Integrity Measurement Architecture) subsystem introduces hooks within the Linux kernel to support creating and collecting hashes of files when opened, before their contents are accessed for read or execute. The IMA measurement subsystem was added in linux-2.6.30 and is supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

          The kernel integrity subsystem consists of two major components. The Integrity Measurement Architecture (IMA) is responsible for collecting file hashes, placing them in kernel memory (where userland applications cannot access/modify it) and allows local and remote parties to verify the measured values. The Extended Verification Module (EVM) detects offline tampering (this could help mitigate evil-maid attacks) of the security extended attributes.

          IMA maintains a runtime measurement list and, if anchored in a hardware Trusted Platform Module(TPM), an aggregate integrity value over this list. The benefit of anchoring the aggregate integrity value in the TPM is that the measurement list is difficult to compromise by a software attack, without it being detectable. Hence, on a trusted boot system, IMA-measurement can be used to attest to the system’s runtime integrity.

        • Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, IndusInd Bank, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company, and _VOIS Named Winners of the Red Hat APAC Innovation Awards 2020 for India

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the winners of the Red Hat APAC Innovation Awards 2020 for India. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company, IndusInd Bank, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Limited and _VOIS were honored at the Red Hat Forum Asia Pacific 2020 today for their exceptional and innovative use of Red Hat solutions.

        • Thoughts of Dev: One piece of advice to a new developer – IBM Developer

          We all have to start someplace in our careers and as a developer, you have a LOT of options and decisions to make. From your first job and industry, programming language to learn, training, soft skills and more. The choices are endless and each right decision (and sometimes wrong decision) helps bring you to where you are today in your career. Looking back, if you could give an important piece of advice to a junior developer, what would you tell them?

        • How Red Hat celebrated Hispanic Heritage month

          We’ve always maintained that a diverse and inclusive organization thrives when people from different backgrounds feel comfortable being their full self when they’re at work. This includes sharing and celebrating holidays and traditions with colleagues that are important to their culture or heritage. At Red Hat, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) communities are a rich source for associates to have new experiences and learn from others with different backgrounds. Our D&I communities are global, associate-led groups focused on fostering diversity and inclusion, knowledge sharing, learning and development, and relationship building.

          Unidos, our Latinx and Hispanic D&I community, recently led its first formal recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. The team organized virtual events for associates including a live cooking session of traditional hispanic cuisine (arepas con carne or a patacon/jibaritos sandwich anyone?) and a panel discussion featuring Red Hatters from Unidos discussing different aspects of Latinx and Hispanic culture including language, traditional family dynamics and the experience of being an immigrant.

        • Multi-stack deployments for the edge with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16.1

          In past releases, Red Hat OpenStack Platform director has used a single Heat stack for the overcloud deployment. With the Train release, it’s now possible to use multiple stacks for a single cloud deployment. Multiple stacks is advantageous to edge deployments as it allows for each distributed edge site to be managed and scaled independently, minimizing operational complexity. First, let’s review the concept of a “stack” in director, as the term can often have overloaded meanings in software engineering.

        • Build custom Ansible modules using Python’s Pexpect

          When developing automation you may be faced with challenges that are simply too complicated or tedious to accomplish with Ansible alone. There may even be cases where you are told that “it can’t be automated.” However, when you combine the abilities of Ansible and custom Python using the Pexpect module, then you are able to automate practically anything you can do on the command line. In this post we will discuss the basics of creating a custom Ansible module in Python.

          [...]

          If these tools also provided a non-interactive mode or config/script input we would not need to do this. To overcome this situation we need to use Python with Pexpect. The native Ansible expect module provides a simple interface to this functionality and should be evaluated before writing a custom module. However, when you need more complex interactions, want specific data returned or want to provide a re-usable and simpler interface to an underlying program for others to consume, then custom development is warranted.

      • Debian Family

        • iXsystems Expands TrueNAS Product Line

          iXsystems has expanded the TrueNAS Open Storage portfolio with the R-Series storage systems and the SCALE Open Source HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI) software.

          The new R-Series storage systems include four models “designed for maximum density, performance, Open Storage flexibility, and cost savings”. TrueNAS SCALE introduces easy-to-manage hyperconvergence based on scale-out OpenZFS.

          The TrueNAS R-Series combines the advantages of purpose-built storage systems with the flexibility of TrueNAS storage OS. The R-Series includes the ability to run any of three TrueNAS software editions: TrueNAS CORE, TrueNAS Enterprise and TrueNAS SCALE.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Automating Server Provisioning in phoenixNap’s Bare Metal Cloud with MAAS (Metal-as-a-Service)

          As part of the effort to build a flexible, cloud-native ready infrastructure, phoenixNAP collaborated with Canonical on enabling nearly instant OS installation. Canonical’s MAAS (Metal-as-a-Service) solution allows for automated OS installation on phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud, making it possible to set up a server in less than two minutes.

          Bare Metal Cloud is a cloud-native ready IaaS platform that provides access to dedicated hardware on demand. Its automation features, DevOps integrations, and advanced network options enable organizations to build a cloud-native infrastructure that supports frequent releases, agile development, and CI/CD pipelines.

          Through MAAS integration, Bare Metal Cloud provides a critical capability for organizations looking to streamline their infrastructure management processes.

        • Telco cloud: what is that? | Ubuntu

          Telco cloud or a network function virtualisation infrastructure (NFVI) is a cloud environment optimised for telco workloads. It is usually based on well-known technologies like OpenStack. Thus, in many ways, it resembles ordinary clouds. On the other hand, however, it differs from them. This is because telco workloads have very specific requirements. Those include performance acceleration, high level of security and orchestration capabilities. In order to better understand where those demands are coming from, let’s start with reviewing what kind of workloads are telcos running in the cloud.

        • OpenStack at 10 – from peak to plateau of productivity | Ubuntu

          This week is the latest Open Infrastructure Summit, in a week where the OpenStack Foundation became the Open Infrastructure Foundation to reflect the expansion of the organisation’s mission, scope and community to advance open source over the next decade to support open infrastructure. It is also ten years since OpenStack launched and a lot has changed during that time.

          We asked freelance journalist, Sean Michael Kerner, to share his views on the last ten years. Sean is a freelance journalist writing on myriad IT topics for publications around the world. He has spoken at more OpenStack events than he cares to remember. English is his second language (Klingon his first). Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

          10 years ago in July 2010, I got an unusual pitch from a PR person. It was the beginning of a long and winding road that defines my experience and viewpoint on OpenStack.

          Unlike the usual spate of product and open source pitches from vendors that I got at the time (and still get), the pitch I got on the sunny July afternoon was an offer to speak with the CTO of IT at NASA. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse – and I suspect it’s also the reason why OpenStack got so much attention early on – it was literally ‘rocket science’. In a 2012 video interview I did with Chris Kemp after he left the role of CTO at NASA to start his own OpenStack startup, he told me that in his view OpenStack could well become one of NASA’s great contributions to society.

        • Canonical & Ubuntu at KubeCon NA Virtual 2020 | Ubuntu

          By now it’s no surprise that KubeCon NA is going virtual, like the majority of events worldwide. Is that bad news? Quite the opposite! According to CNCF, this year’s KubeCon EU – the first KubeCon to ever be hosted virtually – made it possible for over 18,700 Kubeheads to sign up, 72% of which were first-time KubeCon + CloudNativeCon attendees. In other words, as we have all believed for so many years now, tech is helping the community grow and get closer.

        • Groovily Going Ubuntu 20.10 Gorilla

          Groovy Gorilla is the birth name of Ubuntu 20.10 the next generation computer operating system with latest technology. As its version number suggests, it is the October release this year after the April one 20.04 LTS as traditionally Ubuntu released twice a year since its first inception in 2004. Now I have the chance to see what’s new in Groovy for dear readers who are curious plus how it works on Lenovo ThinkPad. Let’s enjoy!

        • Check Out Ubuntu France’s Gorgeous Groovy Gorilla Tee

          Canonical canned the official Ubuntu merch shop last year, leaving it to the wider Ubuntu community to meet market demand.

          The fab folks in the Ubuntu France community have once again taken Ubuntu’s latest mascot animal and turned it into another top-tier t-shirt design.

          When the “Groovy Gorilla” codename was first announced I predicted that the cartoony combo would help artists cook up some terrific art — and the Ubuntu France guys have proved me right.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Arrives Today! Here are 11 New Features in Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

          Ubuntu 20.10 releases today. An Ubuntu fan may get excited about the new features it brings.

          Ubuntu 20.10 codenamed Groovy Gorilla is a non-LTS release with nine months of life cycle. You cannot expect drastic changes between subsequent releases.

          It doesn’t mean you won’t find new things in Ubuntu 20.10. There are some performance improvements, new Linux kernel and visual changes thanks to the latest release of GNOME 3.38 (and other desktop environments in various other Ubuntu flavors).

          Let’s see what new features Ubuntu 20.10 brings.

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla,’ Available Today

          The Groovy Gorilla has hit the streets and, again, this is an interim build of the massively popular Linux distribution. Every two years, Canonical releases a long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu that’s supported for five years.

          Still, Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every six months. Every LTS release is followed by three interim releases before the next LTS release. These collect the changes and improvements that have been made so far en route to the next LTS version.

          These interim builds allow Canonical’s developers to collect feedback and conduct field testing on their work so far. Interim builds also give people a chance to play with the latest, greatest version of the software.

          The April 2020 release (20.04 “Focal Fossa”) was the most recent LTS version, so six months down the development road, Groovy Gorilla doesn’t deliver any big surprises or shake-ups. The Gorilla has had its dusters out, polishing and shining here and there, but that’s about it.

          That’s not to say this isn’t a slick and (throughout our testing) stable build. So far, it seems rock-solid and looks great, but is it worth leaving a long-term service release?

        • Ubuntu 20.10 released, brings full Linux dekstop to Raspberry Pi

          Open-source software fans will now be able to work across even more devices after Canonical revealed the launch of Ubuntu 20.10.

          The latest version of the world’s most popular open-source software features a raft of upgrades and improvements, making it more accessible and easier to use than ever before.

          For the first time, users will be able to enjoy Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi devices, with the new release offering optimised Raspberry Pi images for desktop and server.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Desktop Now Supports the Raspberry Pi 4

          As of the latest release, Raspberry Pi models with 4GB or 8GB RAM can run the Ubuntu 20.10 desktop. Yup, the Groovy Gorilla dishes up support for full-fledged, full-fat desktop version.

          Groovy is but the first foot forward towards a larger goal: an Ubuntu LTS release on the Raspberry Pi, as Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi, says:

          “From the classic Raspberry Pi board to the industrial grade Compute Module, this first step to an Ubuntu LTS on Raspberry Pi with long term support and security updates matches our commitment to widen access to the very best computing and open source capabilities.”

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla Released, this is What’s New

          The latest Ubuntu 20.10 code-named “Groovy Gorilla” is released. The final announcement is due today October 22 2020 from Canonical. Check out what’s new.

          Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” is the last short term release in 2020 from Canonical and will be supported until July 2021. This release is the bleeding edge Ubuntu flavor and some of its features will be merged back to the current Ubuntu 20.04 LTS eventually.

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is here with renewed Raspberry Pi focus

          There are many Linux-based desktop operating systems these days. Some of them are great, while others range from mediocre to downright bad and unnecessary. When a new version of a Linux distro comes out, the Linux community takes notice, but largely, the world doesn’t pay it any mind. That is, of course, unless it is Ubuntu.

          Yes, Canonical’s Ubuntu is undoubtedly the most well-known desktop Linux-based operating system, and when a new version becomes available, it is a very big deal — even in the mainstream. This is despite that there is no real surprise in each release announcement — they come twice a year, in April and October.

          What is the cause for Ubuntu’s renown? Sure, the name “Ubuntu” is catchy and fun to say, but really, it is just a well-designed OS that is easy to use and is very stable. Both Linux beginners and experts use Ubuntu. Hell, even other Linux distributions rely on Ubuntu as their base — Linux Mint is just one example.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 rolls out today, along with official support for the Raspberry Pi 4

          While users who want a properly stable base to game with should probably stick to Ubuntu 20.04 which is the long-term support release, the Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ update is out today.

          For a while there has been a few special Ubuntu flavours that have offered images to install on the Raspberry Pi like Ubuntu MATE, however, that’s now becoming official directly within Ubuntu as of the 20.10 release. This is actually awesome, as Ubuntu is one of the easiest Linux distributions to get going with.

          From the press release:

          “In this release, we celebrate the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s commitment to put open computing in the hands of people all over the world,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical. “We are honoured to support that initiative by optimising Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi, whether for personal use, educational purposes or as a foundation for their next business venture.”

          “From the classic Raspberry Pi board to the industrial grade Compute Module, this first step to an Ubuntu LTS on Raspberry Pi with long term support and security updates matches our commitment to widen access to the very best computing and open source capabilities” said Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Mudita Pure OS is going open source

        The company stated that MuditaOS operating system will be publicly available on the GitHub platform, under a GPL (GNU General Public License) license. In the initial phase, MuditaOS will be available as a Developer Preview, during which, Mudita will work with the growing community to fine-tune the documentation and deal with the first reported issues.

        [...]

        The Mudita phone has been delayed numerous times this year, it was supposed to have come out in April, and was slated for release in October and now has been pushed back until Spring of 2021. It will eventually come out, it is a vanity project of Michal Kicinski, who created the Witcher/Cyberpunk games.

      • A Librem 5 Video Made on a Librem 5

        When it comes to making a video, there are a lot of workflows involved. From writing, planning, to local screen capture, all the way to editing raw 4k footage with proxy clips. Even with all that workflow complexity, the following video was made completely on the Librem 5 phone.

        [...]

        Ultimately the Librem 5 phone lets you take your regular workflow with you while also keeping you in contact with your friends and family.

      • Specify Form-Factors in Your Librem 5 Apps

        While more and more applications are being redesigned to take smartphones like the Librem 5 into account, PureOS still offers lots of desktop applications which are not ready to run on such devices yet.

        As a user you want to know which applications are relevant to install, so PureOS Store will by default only present mobile-ready applications, while still letting you opt-into showing all applications to take full advantage of the Librem 5’s convergeant docked mode. As a user you also want to know which applications are relevant to run at a given time, so Phosh will let you run desktop-only applications only when the phone is docked.

        This requires the applications to provide some information on which form-factors they can handle, if you are an application developer and you want your applications to work as expected on the Librem 5, please provide the relevant information as shown below.

        To make your application appear in PureOS Store, add the following lines to your AppStream metainfo…

      • Unleashing the Best Open Source Social Networking Software

        Social networking is only going in one direction – up. The huge social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become a necessity for businesses. They increasingly recognise the importance of incorporating social networking features with their content strategy. The benefits are broad and wide. Social networking helps to increase brand awareness, improve social signals, offers word-of-mouth advertising, and boosts audience reach and influence.

        Social networking’s appeal is even more notable among consumers. Social media helps individuals follow breaking news, keep up with family, friends, or colleagues, as well as contributing to online debates, and learning from others. Social networking sites have been rapidly adopted by children and, especially, teenagers and young people worldwide. 98% of 18-24 year old use social media in the UK.

      • How to influence people to join open source

        If you are reading Opensource.com, you might be able to code, and you are probably reading this on an open source browser on some elusive Linux distro. You probably have not seen a browser ad in years because you are running an open source ad blocker. You feel warm and fuzzy when you think about penguins.

        Simply, you know the power of the force of open source and have made it part of your life. Sadly, not everyone has found the open source way yet. Their computers are painfully slow; they see more ads than content when they surf the web; they spend their money on patented and copyrighted junk. Some of these people may even be related to you—take your nieces and nephews, for example.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Doug Belshaw: Notification literacy?

            Some people have criticised the film as being light on practical responses that everyday people can make. They point out that while there are recommended steps, they come right at the end of the film while the credits are rolling.

            I thought it was excellent, and that the aim of the film was awareness-raising in the general population, with the main focus on politicians and people who make the laws in western societies (particularly the USA). To me, it showed that, far from being regulated as ‘publishers’, governments should instead consider regulating companies running social networks in the same way as they regulate gambling companies.

            As I’m not planning on running for political office anytime soon, I thought I’d stick to what I know (new literacies!) and think about what it means to talk about ‘notification literacy’. That particular term currently returns zero results in Google Scholar, a search engine for academic articles. If I search DuckDuckGo, one of my own posts from 2017 is in the top few results.

          • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 82 – Firefox Nightly News

            Highlights:

            Urlbar Update 2 enabled on Firefox Beta. This work includes Search Mode, refreshed one-offs, and tab-to-search results.

            We recently introduced tab-to-search results that are shown when a search …

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.4.7

          The Document Foundation announces the availability of LibreOffice 6.4.7, the 7th and last minor release of the LibreOffice 6.4 family, targeted at users relying on the application for desktop productivity. LibreOffice 6.4.7 includes bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility and interoperability with software from other vendors.

        • LibreOffice 6.4.7 Released as the Last in the Series, End of Life Set for November 30

          Containing a total of 72 bug fixes across most of its core components, the LibreOffice 6.4.7 update is here about two months after LibreOffice 6.4.6 to add one last layer of improvements and fixes, ensuring the LibreOffice 6.4 series remains as stable and reliable as possible, as well as to improve document compatibility and interoperability with other office suites.

          While it’s already working on fixing bugs for the latest LibreOffice 7.0 office suite series, The Document Foundation currently still recommends LibreOffice 6.4 for enterprise users and any other type of organization that wants to save money by not buying expensive licenses for proprietary office suites.

      • FSF

        • Streaming services, beware: International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is coming Dec. 4

          The fourteenth International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is coming soon, and the Defective by Design (DbD) campaign needs your help to spread the word. This year’s annual day in protest of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) will be on December 4th, 2020, and will focus on streaming services’ unjust use of DRM. We need your help to spread that message far and wide to both anti-DRM activists and those simply concerned with how in a world with continued technological advancement, our digital freedoms are increasingly under threat.

          While in quarantine, we’ve all been conscious of how the way we engage with our favorite films, television, and music has been changing. Many (if not most) homes connected to a high-speed Internet connection have turned to streaming services that peddle DRM to seek entertainment, subjecting themselves to onerous restrictions in exchange for a way to pass the time. The Defective by Design campaign exists to raise awareness about the injustice of these services and other ways that media conglomerates use DRM to deprive computer users of their freedom.

          In the last few years since the rise of these services, we’ve seen their influence grow from a mere drop in the bucket of video distribution to a stranglehold on global culture. Each more poorly named and unnecessary than the last, these services dictate what we watch, surveil us while we watch it, and through it all, make use of digital restrictions to keep viewers helpless and unable to exert meaningful control on how they choose to experience movies, music, and television. Not only do they keep subscribers trapped in the “walled gardens” of their service, but these dis-services dictate exactly how the works they distribute can be viewed, down to mandating the use of proprietary software and hardware that curtails user freedom. We deserve better.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU RCS 5.10.0 available
            release notes:
            
              A spate of bugfixes, new support for nanosecond mtime, etc.
            
            README excerpt:
            
              GNU RCS (Revision Control System) manages multiple revisions of files.
              RCS can store, retrieve, log, identify, and merge revisions.
              It is useful for files that are revised frequently, e.g.,
              programs, documentation, graphics, and papers.
            
            NEWS for 5.10.0 (2020-10-20):
            
              - bug fixes
            
                - RCS file search skipped RCS/FILENAME by default
            
                  The default set of candidate filenames for the RCS file is:
            
                   RCS/FILENAME,v
                   RCS/FILENAME
                   FILENAME,v
            
                  RCS 5.8 (released 2011-08-30) introduced a bug which caused the
                  default RCS file search to skip RCS/FILENAME.  Regression fixed.
            
                - ‘rlog -w’ behaved like ‘rlog’ (sans ‘-w’)
            
                  RCS 5.8 (released 2011-08-30) introduced a bug which caused
                  ‘rlog -w’ (without any logins specified) to fail to default to
                  the user login.  Instead it behaved as if option ‘-w’ were
                  omitted entirely.
            
                  The cases where logins are specified (e.g., ‘rlog -wjrhacker’)
                  were not affected.
            
                - missing string in comma-v detected, diagnosed
            
                  Previously, if foo,v contained fragment:
            
                   1.1
                   log
                   text
                   @@
            
                  i.e., there was no string value following the ‘log’ keyword,
                  then rlog (et al) would interpret that as an "empty log message"
                  instead of as a violation of the RCS file format grammar, which
                  stipulates that a string value must follow the keywords ‘desc’,
                  ‘log’ and ‘text’ -- (info "(rcs) comma-v grammar").
            
                  Now, such a situation causes rlog (et al) to abort w/ message
                  "missing string after KEYWORD" (KEYWORD ∈ {desc, log, text}).
            
                - subsecond resolution maintained for ‘-d’, ‘-T’
            
                  An RCS ‘delta’ includes a ‘date’ component w/ second (whole
                  number) resolution.  Previously, on filesystems that support
                  subsecond (fractional) resolution for the file modification time
                  (aka "mtime"), RCS commands given the ‘-d’ and/or ‘-T’ options
                  would disregard, on read, and specify 0 (zero), on write, the
                  fractional mtime.
            
                  Now, RCS preserves subsecond mtime in those cases.  More details
                  in new manual section -- (info "(rcs) Stamp resolution").
            
              - portability fixes
            
                - now buildable under ‘gcc -std=c11’ (default for GCC 5)
            
                  RCS previously failed to build under ‘-std=c11’, which happens
                  to be the default mode of GCC 5.  In particular, ‘-std=c11’ is
                  more strict about function attributes syntax than ‘-std=c99’.
            
                  Now, the offending code has been rectified.  (Specifically,
                  attribute ‘_Noreturn’ now is at the start of a func decl.)
            
                - threads support
            
                  RCS itself is clueless about threads, but it uses gnulib, which
                  may or may not require threads support.  This manifests as the
                  configure script options ‘--enable-threads=MODEL’ as well as
                  ‘--disable-threads’.
            
                  Previously, "make" would ignore MODEL (even implicitly), acting
                  as if ‘--disable-threads’ were specified.  Now, it takes into
                  account MODEL by propagating makefile var ‘LIBTHREAD’.
            
                - consult ‘USER’ first if ‘LOGNAME’ read-only
            
                  To determine the user (login) name in the absence of a specific
                  command-line option, RCS normally checks first the env var
                  ‘LOGNAME’ and second, ‘USER’.  Alas, this is unworkable under
                  AIX, where ‘LOGNAME’ is read-only.  So now, if the configure
                  script finds ‘LOGNAME’ to be read-only, it arranges to build RCS
                  to check ‘USER’ first and then ‘LOGNAME’.  See README.
            
                - configure script avoids ‘date -r’
            
                  Unfortunately ‘date -r’ is not POSIX.  This made AIX unhappy.
            
                - other AIX accomodation
            
                  The AIX compiler complains about the implicit casting that
                  occurs when returning a pointer from a function whose return
                  type is ‘bool’.  So, we are now explicit.
            
              - documentation improvements
            
                - docfix: add "Log message option" to Detailed Node Listing
            
                  Probably Emacs by now has some automagic way to sync the
                  ‘@detailmenu’ section w/ the text body... hmmm.
            
                - style change due to ‘-zZONE’ option
            
                  Specifying option ‘-zZONE’ to ‘rcs log’ changes the date output
                  style to use hyphens (ISO) instead of slashes (YYYY/MM/DD).
            
                - rlog, use with CVS
            
                  Since RCS 5.8 (released 2011-08-30), there have been sporadic
                  reports of rlog (aka "rcs log") failing with CVS files.  The
                  manual now addresses this -- (info "(rcs) comma-v particulars").
            
                - delim-separated list
            
                  GNU RCS has always supported comma to separate items in a list
                  (e.g., ‘rcs frob -o1.1,2.2’ to remove (or "outdate") revisions
                  1.1 and 2.2).  But did you know that most places a comma is
                  welcome and you can use other delimiter characters as well?
                  Read all about it -- (info "(rcs) Delim-separated list").
            
                - (style) pargraphs no longer indented
            
                  This looks nicer (IMHO) for Info and Text output formats.
            
              - testing improvements
            
                Many new tests and test cases for existing tests were added, to
                catch regressions and exercise infrequent code paths.  For "make
                check" (locally), function coverage is 97.3% (considered "high")
                and line coverage is 84.9% (considered "medium"), per lcov.
            
              - bootstrap/maintenance tools
            
                upgraded:
            
                 GNU gnulib 2020-10-19 23:37:09
                 GNU texinfo 6.7
                 GNU Automake 1.16.2
                 GNU Autoconf 2.69c
            
                as before:
            
                 (none)
            
            tarballs and detached signatures:
            
            http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/rcs/rcs-5.10.0.tar.lz
            
            
            http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/rcs/rcs-5.10.0.tar.lz.sig
            
            
            http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/rcs/rcs-5.10.0.tar.xz
            
            
            http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/rcs/rcs-5.10.0.tar.xz.sig
            
            source code:
            
            https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/rcs.git/?h=p
            
            homepage:
            
            https://www.gnu.org/software/rcs/
            
            
        • Licensing/Legal

          • How You can Have an Impact on European Openness Policy | ConsortiumInfo.org

            Are there political dimensions to open source software and hardware? Americans might be surprised to see such a question, given Washington’s almost complete indifference to the dramatic rise of these approaches to technology development. But that’s not the case in many other parts of the world, and particularly in Europe, where the European Commission (EC) and the governments of many constituent nations have taken great interest in not only promoting the uptake of open software, and, more recently hardware, but incorporating open source software and hardware into procurement decisions and inter-country communication platforms and protocols.

            This process continues, and you can have an impact on future decision making by participating in a survey commissioned by the EC to guide its future open source policy development.

            The survey questionnaire is targeted at developers and users of open source, takes about fifteen minutes to complete, and can be found here. Input from non-Europeans as well as Europeans is welcome and requested.

            The survey is part of an ongoing EC-commissioned OpenSource Impact Survey being conducted by OpenForum Europe, a Brussels-based policy think tank (of which I’ve been a Fellow for many years), and Fraunhofer ISI, a multi-location European research institute.

          • History of FreeBSD: Part 2: BSDi and USL Lawsuits

            In the late 1950s, AT&T was forced to accept a consent decree from the US government to end an anti-trust lawsuit. As part of that consent decree, AT&T had to limit its business endeavours to its national telephone system and special projects for the federal government. Once educational institutions became aware of AT&T’s Unix system in the 1970s, they requested access to it for their computer labs. Legally AT&T couldn’t be in the computer business. So, AT&T’s lawyers came up with a workaround. They would license Unix to universities, but they would operate under a “no advertising, no support, no bug fixes, payment in advance” plan.

            Since the educational institutions that licensed Unix couldn’t expect support from the creators of the system, many of them shared bug fixes and improvements. Thus the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) was born.

            In the early 1990s, the US government broke up AT&T and removed the consent decree. Now AT&T could move into other business ventures. UNIX System Laboratories or USL was one of those ventures. This subsidiary was created solely to develop and sell Unix. When USL caught wind of BSDi’s marketing strategy, their lawyers jumped into action. They sent a letter demanding that BSDi do two things: drop the 1-800-ITS-Unix phone number and make it clear in the advertisements that BSDi’s product was not Unix. There are differing accounts as to whether or, not they got rid of the phone number, but they did fulfil the second part of USL’s demand.

            USL was still not content with the fact that BSDi was selling a competing product, so they decided to take them to court. The suit filed by USL alleged that BSDi’s product included code and trade secrets that belonged to USL. They also asked for an injunction to prevent BSDi from selling their product until the lawsuit had been resolved because it could damage USL.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Open Access Must Be the Rule, Not the Exception

            The COVID-19 pandemic demands that governments, scientific researchers, and industry work together to bring life-saving technology to the public regardless of who can afford it. But even as we take steps to make medical technology and treatments available to everyone, we shouldn’t forget that more crises will come after COVID-19. There will be future public health disasters; in fact, experts expect pandemics to become more frequent. As climate change continues to threaten human life, there will be other kind of disasters too. A patch for the current crisis is not enough; we need a fundamental change in how scientific research is funded, published, and licensed. As we celebrate Open Access Week, let’s remember that open access must be the rule, not the exception.

            We wrote earlier this year about the Open COVID Pledge, a promise that a company can make not to assert its patents or copyrights against anyone helping to fight COVID-19. Companies that take the pledge agree to license their patents and/or copyrights under a license that allows for “diagnosing, preventing, containing, and treating COVID-19.” When we last wrote about the Open COVID Pledge, it had just been introduced and had only a few adopters—most notably, tech giant Intel. Since then, many big tech companies have taken the pledge, including Facebook, Uber, Amazon, and Microsoft. And the list of licensed technology on the Open COVID Pledge website continues to grow.

      • Programming/Development

        • Developer survey: C# losing ground to JavaScript, PHP and Java for cloud apps, still big in gaming [Ed: When Microsoft Tim writes about development trends he expectedly focuses on largely rejected Microsoft stuff, not what actually matters.]

          A new developer survey has shown the popularity of C#, the primary language of Microsoft’s .NET platform, slipping from third to sixth place in three years, though usage is still growing in absolute terms and it is particularly popular in game development.

          Research company Slashdata surveyed over 17,000 developers globally for its 19th “State of the Developer Nation” report. The researchers make a point of attempting to measure the absolute number of programming language users, rather than simply looking at relative popularity, as done by indexes from the likes of StackOverflow or Redmonk.

        • LLVM Clang 12 Merges Support For x86_64 Microarchitecture Levels – Phoronix

          In an effort to better cater towards newer and common x86_64 instruction set extensions, open-source toolchain developers are moving ahead with the work on x86_64 micro-architecture feature levels for being able to target a handful of different “levels” beyond the base x86_64 instruction set.

          The x86_64 feature levels are for easily segregating different classes of x86_64 Intel/AMD CPUs in hopes of making it easier for Linux distributions to increase their base requirements beyond just x86_64/AMD64 and improving compiler toolchains with a common set of possible levels / hardware capabilities in generating optimized libraries. This goes along with work pursued by Red Hat in raising the x86_64 CPU requirements for new RHEL/Fedora releases and for optimization initiatives like the glibc HWCAPS in supporting a few different optimization levels rather than having to target every possible Intel/AMD CPU microarchitecture family as is currently done for code optimization/tuning.

        • RStudio is a refreshingly intuitive IDE | Christian Kastner

          I currently need to dabble with R for a smallish thing. I have previously dabbled with R only once, for an afternoon, and that was about a decade ago, so I had no prior experience to speak of regarding the language and its surrounding ecosystem.

          Somebody recommended that I try out RStudio, a popular IDE for R. I was happy to see that an open-source community edition exists, in the form of a .deb package no less, so I installed it and gave it a try.

          [...]

          This, and many other features that pop up here and there, like the live-rendering of LaTeX equations, contributed to what has to be one of the most positive experiences with an IDE that I’ve had so far.

        • Engaging in an “Open First” remote internship at Collabora

          The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to move very quickly to a partial or even full home office regime. In this context, Collabora is at a very privileged position, since remote work has always been at the core of our day to day operations. Over 80% of our people work remotely from all over the world even when our offices are open.

          As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, many students’ scholarships have been impacted one way or the other. As the world economy is being shaken, many of them are facing challenges finding internships and entering into the professional life.

          At Collabora, and despite of COVID-19, we want remote internships to have the power to get students, regardless of where they live, into a dream job. Or, at the very least, provide them with informative venues for exploring and confirming (or not) professional interests. Our internships also connect students with a larger ecosystem of FLOSS projects and vendors, serving as a good way to improve their visibility and networking.

        • Nibble Stew: Cargo-style dependency management for C, C++ and other languages with Meson

          My previous blog post about modern C++ got a surprising amount of feedback. Some people even reimplemented the program in other languages, including one in Go, two different ones in Rust and even this slightly brain bending C++ reimplementation as a declarative style pipeline. It also got talked about on Reddit and Hacker news. Two major comments that kept popping up were the following.

          [...]

          One notable downside of this approach is that WrapDB does not have all that many packages yet. However I have been told that given the next Meson release (in a few weeks) and some upstream patches, it is possible to build the entire GTK widget toolkit as a subproject, even on Windows.

          If anyone wants to contribute to the project, contributions are most welcome. You can for example convert existing projects and submit them to wrapdb or become a reviewer. The Meson web site has the relevant documentation.

        • Percepio Releases Tracealyzer Visual Trace Diagnostics Solution Version 4.4 with Support for Embedded Linux

          -Percepio, the leader in visual trace diagnostics for embedded and IoT software systems, today announced the immediate availability of Tracealyzer version 4.4 with support for embedded Linux. Tracealyzer gives developers a high level of insight during software debugging and verification at the system level by enabling visual exploratory analysis from the top down. This makes it easy to spot issues during full system testing and drill down into the details to find the cause.

        • Facebook Is Looking To Upstream Their BOLT Binary Performance Optimizer Into LLVM – Phoronix

          Facebook’s BOLT is a multi-year project focused on speeding up the performance of binaries. This open-source project initially focused on being able to better optimize Linux x86_64/ARM64 ELF binaries as a post-link optimizer. BOLT has been seeing much success with even Google using it now for better performance and now there is work to upstream it as part of the LLVM project.

          Facebook engineers are hoping to see BOLT added to LLVM as a binary optimization framework. Google has reported with their own workloads that BOLT can normally provide 2~6% uplift on top of the abilities of compiler optimizations. Other organizations and academia also have been using BOLT in varying capacities.

        • 5 steps to learn any programming language | Opensource.com

          Some people love learning new programming languages. Other people can’t imagine having to learn even one. In this article, I’m going to show you how to think like a coder so that you can confidently learn any programming language you want.

          [...]

          With just a little programming experience, which you can gain from any one of several introductory articles here on Opensource.com, you can go on to learn any programming language in just a few days (sometimes less). Now, this isn’t magic, and you do have to put some effort into it. And admittedly, it takes a lot longer than just a few days to learn every library available to a language or to learn the nuances of packaging your code for delivery. But getting started is easier than you might think, and the rest comes naturally with practice.

          When experienced programmers sit down to learn a new language, they’re looking for five things. Once you know those five things, you’re ready to start coding.

        • RcppZiggurat 0.1.6

          The RcppZiggurat package updates the code for the Ziggurat generator by Marsaglia and other which provides very fast draws from a Normal distribution. The package provides a simple C++ wrapper class for the generator improving on the very basic macros, and permits comparison among several existing Ziggurat implementations. This can be seen in the figure where Ziggurat from this package dominates accessing the implementations from the GSL, QuantLib and Gretl—all of which are still way faster than the default Normal generator in R (which is of course of higher code complexity).

        • The four things you must be able to do in nano

          Text editing is essential to Linux users. Historically, the Vim text editor has been the default tool for managing file contents. Today, many systems and many sysadmins prefer to use the nano text editor.

          [...]

          In some ways, using nano is more like using the keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer. Nano is significantly more powerful than I am showing here, so be sure to check the documentation for more tricks. If you’re a Vim user and you find yourself on a distribution that only has nano available, at least you’ll know these simple functions.

          I guess I’m old school (or just old), but I prefer Vim, even for very short and simple edits. I acknowledge that nano is easier, but I am in the habit of using Vim. In fact, I have it installed on my Mac and Windows computers, too.

        • Sysadmin careers: the correlation between mentors and success | Enable Sysadmin

          Typically, the more information you have about a situation, the more successful you will be in navigating it. The same can be said about the level of experience you have in dealing with specific problems. This is what inspired me to explore the experience of other industry professionals. I had several great mentors over the years, and I always felt that the time spent learning from them paid off exponentially. It’s not always some intellectual atom bomb that reshapes your skillset. Many times, the most powerful lessons are in the wisdom gained over time. Having the skill to act is great, but it helps to know when and how to act as well.

          We asked a group of our core contributors about their mentors and the impact of these experiences on their careers. Some had specific people in mind; however, an equal number stated that a close-knit team can be just as valuable as a single guiding force.

        • Steinar H. Gunderson: plocate in testing

          plocate hit testing today, so it’s officially on its way to bullseye :-) I’d love to add a backport to stable, but bpo policy says only to backport packages with a “notable userbase”, and I guess 19 installations in popcon isn’t that :-) It’s also hit Arch Linux, obviously Ubuntu universe, and seemingly also other distributions like Manjaro. No Fedora yet, but hopefully, some Fedora maintainer will pick it up. :-)

        • Dev Boards

          • Forlinx OK1028A-C networking SBC supports LVDS displays, 4G/5G modules

            Forlinx released two networking SBC’s with 10Gbps Ethernet powered by NXP LS1043A and LS1046A processor nearly exactly one year ago. Like many other networking SBCs they do not come with video output so configuration is done via a computer or laptop either through a UART interface or a web interface. But in some cases, such boards may be integrated into machines that require a display for human-machine interaction. That’s why Forlinx has now released a new networking board – OK1028A-C – powered by NXP QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A dual-core Cortex-A72 processor that natively supports video output up to 4K UHD resolution via an eDP/DisplayPort interface which the company used to provide an LVDS header.

          • Flex Logix InferX X1 AI Inference Accelerator Takes on NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX

            When it comes to AI inference accelerators, NVIDIA has captured the market as drones, intelligent high-resolution sensors, network video recorders, portable medical devices, and other industrial IoT systems use NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX. This might change as Flex Logix’s InferX X1 AI inference accelerator has been shown to outperform Jetson Xavier NX as well as Tesla T4. During the Linley Fall Conference 2020, Flex Logix showcased InferX X1 AI Inference Accelerator, its performance, and how it outperformed other edge inference chips. It is the most powerful edge inference coprocessor with high throughput, low latency, high accuracy, large model megapixels images, and small die for embedded computing devices at the edge.

        • Python

          • DISTUTILS_USE_SETUPTOOLS, QA spam and… more QA spam? – Michał Górny

            I suppose that most of the Gentoo developers have seen at least one of the ‘uses a probably incorrect DISTUTILS_USE_SETUPTOOLS value’ bugs by now. Over 350 have been filed so far, and new ones are filed practically daily. The truth is, I’ve never intended for this QA check to result in bugs being filed against packages, and certainly not that many bugs.

            This is not an important problem to be fixed immediately. The vast majority of Python packages depend on setuptools at build time (this is why the build-time dependency is the eclass’ default), and being able to unmerge setuptools is not a likely scenario. The underlying idea was that the QA check would make it easier to update DISTUTILS_USE_SETUPTOOLS when bumping packages.

            Nobody has asked me for my opinion, and now we have hundreds of bugs that are not very helpful. In fact, the effort involved in going through all the bugmail, updating packages and closing the bugs greatly exceeds the negligible gain. Nevertheless, some people actually did it. I have bad news for them: setuptools upstream has changed entry point mechanism, and most of the values will have to change again. Let me elaborate on that.

          • Python and the infinite [LWN.net]

            A recent proposal on the python-ideas mailing list would add a new way to represent floating-point infinity in the language. Cade Brown suggested the change; he cited a few different reasons for it, including fixing an inconsistency in the way the string representation of infinity is handled in the language. The discussion that followed branched in a few directions, including adding a constant for “not a number” (NaN) and a more general discussion of the inconsistent way that Python handles expressions that evaluate to infinity.

            In general, Python handles floating-point numbers, including concepts like infinity, following the standards laid out by IEEE 754. Positive and negative infinity are represented by two specific floating-point values in most architectures. Currently, representing a floating-point infinite value in Python can be done using a couple of different mechanisms. There is the float() function, which can be passed the string “inf” to produce infinity, and there is the inf constant in the math library, which is equivalent to float(‘inf’). Brown provided several reasons why he believed a new, identical, and built-in constant was necessary. One of his reasons was that he felt that infinity is a “fundamental constant” that should be accessible from Python without having to call a function or require a library import.

          • Further analysis of PyPI typosquatting [LWN.net]

            We have looked at the problem of confusingly named packages in repositories such as the Python Package Index (PyPI) before. In general, malicious actors create these packages with names that can be mistaken for those of legitimate packages in the repository in a form of “typosquatting”. Since our 2016 article, the problem has not gone away—no surprise—but there has been some recent analysis of it, as well as some efforts to combat it.

            On the IQT blog, John Speed Meyers and Bentz Tozer recently posted some analysis they had done to quantify PyPI typosquatting attacks and to categorize them. They started by looking at the examples of actual attacks against PyPI users from 2017 to 2020; they found 40 separate instances over that time span. The criteria used were that the package had a name similar to another in PyPI, contained malware, and was identified and removed from the repository.

          • Automating PDF generation using Python reportlab module

            Generating PDF using python reportlab module, Adding table to PDF using Python, Adding Pie Chart to PDF using Python, Generating PDF invoice using Python code, Automating PDF generation using Python reportlab module

          • Level Up Your Skills With the Real Python Slack Community – Real Python

            The Real Python Community Slack is an English-speaking Python community with members located all over the world. It’s a welcoming group in which you’re free to discuss your coding and career questions, celebrate your progress, vote on upcoming tutorial topics, or just hang out with us at the virtual water cooler.

            As a community member, you also get access to our weekly Office Hours, a live online Q&A session with the Real Python team where you’ll meet fellow Pythonistas to chat about your learning progress, ask questions, and discuss Python tips and tricks via screen sharing.

          • Remove Duplicates From a List

            How do we remove duplicates from a list? One way is to go through the original list, pick up unique values, and append them to a new list.

            About the “Writing Faster Python” series

            “Writing Faster Python” is a series of short articles discussing how to solve some common problems with different code structures. I run some benchmarks, discuss the difference between each code snippet, and finish with some personal recommendations.

            Are those recommendations going to make your code much faster? Not really.
            Is knowing those small differences going to make a slightly better Python programmer? Hopefully!

            You can read more about some assumptions I made, the benchmarking setup, and answers to some common questions in the Introduction article.

        • PHP

          • A PHP syntax for discardable assignments [LWN.net]

            Recently, John Bafford revived a years-long conversation on expanding the syntax of the PHP foreach statement to include iterating solely over keys. Bafford, who wrote a patch and request for comments (RFC) on the matter back in 2016, hopes to update his work and convince the community to adopt the abbreviated syntax in PHP 8.1. The community took Bafford’s general idea and expanded it into other areas of the language.

        • Rust

          • Kata Containers rewritten in Rust gets a major speed boost

            Kata provides container isolation and security without the overhead of running them in a VM. Usually, containers are run in VMs for security, but that removes some of the advantages of using containers with their small resources footprint. Kata containers, however, can run on bare metal.

            The purpose of runV was to make VMs run like containers. In Kata, this approach is combined with Intel’s Clear Containers, which uses Intel built-in chip Virtual Technology (VT), to launch containers in lightweight virtual machines (VMs). With Kata, those containers are launched in runV.

            Despite the Intel connection, Kata Containers are hardware agnostic. Kata Containers are also built to be compatible with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) specification, and Kubernetes’ container runtime interface (CRI).

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Professors, please let us submit PDFs

        We are under two weeks away from a presidential election and already eight months into a deadly pandemic, but we still have time for the little things. No, I don’t mean smelling flowers and sipping pumpkin spice lattes, though you are welcome to do so—I mean the types of file formats that professors request students use to submit papers.

        In my experience, most professors ask for files with a DOCX extension, a format which was developed by Microsoft in 2007 to help standardize its file extensions across its various applications. Officially known as Office Open XML, the DOCX format broke backwards compatibility with the old .doc format. This meant that all previous versions of Microsoft Word prior to the new standard would be unable to open files with this particular extension. Consternation followed that development in 2007 (or 2008 for Mac users), but in the year 2020 we have mostly solved that issue, as most computers these days do not run any pre-2006 versions of Microsoft Office.

        The modern problems with DOCX are really not problems with DOCX itself, but rather with its place in the pantheon of file extensions that are now available. Most students in our current age produce their work in a Google Doc (in point of fact, this very article was produced in a Google Doc). It’s a simple workflow that has all the functionality of a full-blown application without having to leave a web browser or fight with a sign-in form (beyond the one that we’re always signed into as a part of daily campus life). I don’t support submitting an essay or exam as a raw Google Doc, however, and my reasons for not doing so are partially shared with my aversion to submitting in DOCX: all the writing tools are immediately available upon opening the document.

        [...]

        The obvious solution is for professors to request papers in Portable Document Format, PDF. Originally developed in 1993, the PDF file format has not outlived its usefulness. Anything, from Windows 10 to Windows 95, MacOS to OS X or Unix to Ubuntu, anything can open a PDF. And since anything can open it, when students finish writing and export to PDF, we can see exactly what it is we’re submitting with our names attached. And it’s not like professors should hate it; it’s the default format for any downloaded academic document, and providing comments is much closer to how comments are written on physical paper.

        Students shouldn’t be the only ones submitting files in PDF format either. For every file in DOCX a professor puts on Moodle, there are probably three copies on every student’s hard drive. Every weekday we face the choice of digging through our downloaded files for the syllabus we downloaded a week ago or downloading yet another copy of that same syllabus. Uploading PDF files instead of DOCX to Moodle lets students open it in a web browser, a faster and less cluttered operation that lets our focus stay on class instead of going through old files.

      • Static versus dynamic web sites

        In this post, I want to explore two fundamental principles or criteria that underpinned my original article, but were more or less unpronounced: sustainability and power. I also want to update you on my current site configuration.

      • [Old] Writing HTML in HTML

        I’ve just finished the final rewrite of my website. I’m not lying: this is the last time I’m ever going to do it. This website has gone through countless rewrites – from WordPress to Jekyll to multiple static site generators of my own – but this is the final one. I know so, because I’ve found the ultimate method for writing webpages: pure HTML.

        It sounds obvious, but when you think about how many static site generators are being released every day – the list is practically endless – it’s far from obvious. Drew DeVault recently challanged people to create their own blog, and he didn’t even mention the fact that one could write it in pure HTML:

        If you want a hosted platform, I recommend write.as. If you’re technical, you could build your own blog with Jekyll or Hugo. GitHub offers free hosting for Jekyll-based blogs.

        Now, there’s nothing wrong with Jekyll or Hugo; it’s just interesting that HTML doesn’t even get a mention. And of course, I’m not criticizing Drew; I think the work he’s doing is great. But, just like me and you, he is a child of his time.

        That’s why I’m writing this blog post – to turn the tide just a little bit.

      • Shaping the future interoperability policy

        The European Commission is currently evaluating the ISA² programme and the European Interoperability Framework to present a reinforced public sector interoperability policy in 2021.

        The related roadmaps (EIF and ISA²) are now published for feedback on the Commission’s Have your say portal. You can provide feedback on the EIF and future interoperability policy roadmap till 12 November 2020. Feedback on the roadmap for the evaluation of the ISA² programme is open till 13 November 2020.

  • Leftovers

    • Retroactive Mindfulness

      We can navigate our memories, in as pure a form as possible, and just be there. Experience them. Be present. Accept what happens without becoming the event. Just observing it and letting it pass—like we would today with the present.

      Retroactive Mindfulness. A way to harvest meaning from our past.

    • Why Are People Watching Less Sports?

      This week we speak to Jane McManus, New York Daily News sports columnist and director of the Center for Sports Communication at Marist College. We talk about a new survey from Marist College on recent sports viewership. We dive into theories on why there has been a drop in sports viewers since the pandemic as well as the broader American sports world’s response to the virus and why it’s been found to be lacking.

    • Science

      • Stunning images show NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft stirring up rocks on an asteroid

        NASA shared astonishing images of its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touching an asteroid yesterday, revealing how the vehicle stirred up rocks and debris on the object’s surface when it made contact. The goal of the tap was to collect a sample of material from the asteroid, but the engineers behind the spacecraft say they won’t for sure if they collected anything until this weekend, when they spin the vehicle and measure how much material is inside.

    • Hardware

      • One Netbook A1 7-inch laptop features Ethernet and COM port for IT Pros

        We’ve seen many Intel-powered mini-laptops with 6 to 9-inch display in the last coupled of years mainly from GPD and One Netbook, but also CHUWI.

        Most models are tinier versions of ultrabooks with wireless-only connectivity, but last year GPD MicroPC 6-inch mini-laptop added Ethernet and RS-232 COM port for IT professionals such as sysadmins. But there’s now another option with One Netbook A1 equipped with a 7-inch display, powered by an Intel Core m3-8100Y Amber Lake processor, and also featuring Ethernet and COM ports, plus the usual USB and HDMI ports.

        [...]

        The mini laptop ships with Windows 10, but Liliputing got a pre-production unit and also tested Ubuntu 20.04 with WiFi, keyboard shortcuts, and audio all working properly.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • J Balvin to Headline ‘Fortnite’ Halloween Concert

          “I am always looking for innovative ways to connect with fans that have been so incredibly supportive of my career and music, as well as gain exposure to future fans,” said J Balvin in a statement. “Partnering with Fortnite is an out of this world way to perform a concert in 2020.”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • 1Password for Linux Beta now available on Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, Fedora, and more [Ed: Who would trust proprietary software for password handling when our governments (nowadays) openly demand back doors in everything?]

            Back in August, we told you about some very exciting news — 1Password had come to Linux… as a development preview. Yeah, it was a pre-beta release, but still, it was a huge win for the Linux community overall.

            1Password is an extremely popular password management service, available for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS/iPadOS. Bringing it to Linux makes the software truly cross-platform. Not to mention, it says a lot about the growing popularity of Linux that Agilebits found it beneficial to assign precious resources to its development.

          • 1Password’s Linux App is Now in Beta

            The official 1Password Linux app is available for wider testing ahead of a planned stable release next year.

            Preview builds of the 1Password Linux app were soft-launched earlier this year, albeit with a few caveats in place. The feedback gathered as part of that early effort clearly bore fruit as the team is back with freshly ripened beta candidate for fans of the service to try.

            1Password is a popular, cross-platform password manager. Official apps are available for Android and iOS, all major web browser, and Windows and macOS. The service isn’t free (though plans start at a low $2.99/m) but it packs in some pretty decent credential management features.

            The 1Password Linux app backend is written in Rust and leverages the ring crypto library for its end-to-end encryption.

            Integration with the Ubuntu desktop is also on offer. The app can detect when you’re using a dark GTK theme; uses descriptive window titles (handy if you tile windows); has support for biometric unlocking; and shows a good ol’ system tray icon for easy access.

          • First Beta Version Of ‘1Password’ App For Linux Arrives

            Finally, a month and a half after we reported the initial release of the 1Password app for Linux desktop, its co-founder Dave Teare has now announced the beta version of the full-featured ‘1Password’ Linux desktop app.

            As you may know, 1Password is a user-friendly and cross-platform password manager app whose stable version is already available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and now is getting ready for Linux-based operating systems.

          • How to Install 1Password Beta On Linux?

            The beta version of 1Password is now available on Linux. for starters, it is a beautiful, user-friendly, and cross-platform password manager app which is already available on various other platforms like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

            The app is now available for Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Apart from that, an App Image is also available. Here’s how you can install 1Password on Linux —

          • Windows/Openwashing

            • Ventoy 1.0.25

              Ventoy is an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files. With Ventoy, you don’t need to format the disk over and over, you just need to copy the ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)EFI files to the USB drive and boot them directly. You can copy many files at a time and ventoy will give you a boot menu to select them. Both Legacy BIOS and UEFI are supported in the same way. Most type of OS supported (Windows/WinPE/Linux/Unix/Vmware/Xen…)

            • Spotify open-sources Klio, a framework for AI audio research

              This week at the 2020 International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, Spotify open-sourced Klio, an ecosystem that allows data scientists to process audio files (or any binary files) easily and at scale. It was built to run Spotify’s large-scale audio intelligence systems and is leveraged by the company’s engineers and audio scientists to help develop and deploy next-generation audio algorithms.

        • Security

          • Gerrit code review tool taken offline after suspected admin account compromise

            Gerrit has been taken offline after malicious activity was flagged on the open source code collaboration platform.

            The web-based Git code review service was disabled two hours after project maintainers were alerted to a suspected security breach on Tuesday morning (October 20).

            “We believe an admin account in Gerrit was compromised allowing an attacker to escalate privileges within Gerrit,” said Clark Boylan in a service announcement issued later that day.
            “Around 02:00 UTC October 20 suspicious review activity was noticed, and we were made aware of it shortly afterwards.

            “The involved account was disabled and removed from privileged Gerrit groups. After further investigation we decided that we needed to stop the service, this happened at about 04:00 UTC.”

          • KeePassXC 2.6.2 Password Manager Adds Major UI Improvements and Bug Fixes

            One of the major improvements included in the KeePassXC 2.6.2 release is a new way for the web browser integration to handle and prioritizes URLs. In addition, there’s also a new “Always on Top” mode in the view menu that lets users set the main KeePassXC window to always be on top.

            Furthermore, KeePassXC 2.6.2 moves the option to show or hide usernames and passwords to the view menu, adds new command-line options to let users specify the location of the configuration file and to set environment variables, and improves the CSV import and export functionality, along with support for ISO datetimes.

          • Reproducible Builds: Supporter spotlight: Civil Infrastructure Platform 01:00

            The Reproducible Builds project depends on our many projects, supporters and sponsors. We rely on their financial support, but they are also valued ambassadors who spread the word about the Reproducible Builds project and the work that we do.

            This is the first installment in a series featuring the projects, companies and individuals who support the Reproducible Builds project. If you are a supporter of the Reproducible Builds project (of whatever size) and would like to be featured here, please let get in touch with us at contact@reproducible-builds.org.

            However, we are kicking off this series by featuring Urs Gleim and Yoshi Kobayashi of the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project.

            [...]

            A: Reproducibility helps a great deal in software maintenance. We have a number of use-cases that should have long-term support of more than 10 years. During this period, we encounter issues that need to be fixed in the original source code. But before we make changes to the source code, we need to check whether it is actually the original source code or not. If we can reproduce exactly the same binary from the source code even after 10 years, we can start to invest time and energy into making these fixes.

          • Security updates for Wednesday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (kdeconnect, kernel, kpmcore, lib32-freetype2, linux-hardened, linux-lts, linux-zen, lua, and powerdns-recursor), Debian (mariadb-10.1 and mariadb-10.3), Fedora (thunderbird), Mageia (claw-mail, freetype2, geary, kernel, and tigervnc), Oracle (nodejs:12), Red Hat (python27, rh-postgresql96-postgresql, and rh-python38), Slackware (freetype), SUSE (hunspell, kernel, libvirt, and taglib), and Ubuntu (grunt, quassel, and tomcat9).

          • Linux 5.10 Hardens Against Possible DMA Attacks By External PCIe Devices – Phoronix

            The PCI changes were submitted on Wednesday for the Linux 5.10 kernel.

            The PCI subsystem updates for Linux 5.10 aren’t too exciting this round but there are a few items worth noting. One change is the enabling of ACS translation blocking for external PCIe devices in protecting against possible DMA attacks.

            Translation Blocking is enabled for untrusted/external PCIe devices to harden against direct memory access attacks. ACS (Access Control Services) Translation Blocking will block any request with the AT bit set as an effort to protect against improper routing of PCIe packets.

          • LockBit ransomware using Windows tools to bypass security: claim

            Windows ransomware known as LockBit, which made its presence known in 2019, has now matured and is using novel ways to escalate privileges by bypassing the User Account Control feature on Windows systems.

          • Hint to Brad Smith: getting rid of Windows will halt most cyber attacks

            Microsoft president Brad Smith has called for the barrage of cyber attacks on democracies — not other countries which also face the same issue — to be called out and stopped.

          • PayPal move on digital currencies will make cyber criminals richer: claim

            The move by worldwide online payments system PayPal to allow customers to hold bitcoin and other virtual currencies in their online wallets will end up making more than a few cyber criminals richer, a senior technologist has claimed.

          • Big engineering consultancy takes a hit from REvil ransomware

            The Meinhardt Group, an engineering consultancy with 51 offices worldwide and 5000 employees, appears to have been attacked by a group using the REvil ransomware last month.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Five Bar Owners Arrested In France For Not Logging Internet Use By Patrons Using Bars’ WiFi Connections

              A seldom used mandate from France’s 2006 anti-terrorism law is being wielded rather conspicuously in a single French city to lock up small business owners.

            • Former Google CEO Calls Social Networks ‘Amplifiers for Idiots’

              Schmidt, who left the board of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. in 2019 but is still one of its largest shareholders, said the antitrust lawsuit the U.S. government filed against the company on Tuesday was misplaced, but that more regulation may be in order for social networks in general.

              “The context of social networks serving as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people is not what we intended,” Schmidt said at a virtual conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “Unless the industry gets its act together in a really clever way, there will be regulation.”

            • Eric Schmidt, who bought YouTube for a premium, thinks social networks are ‘amplifiers for idiots’

              The Verge used to have a fine tradition of cataloging all of the times when Eric Schmidt stuck his foot in his mouth, and today’s feels like a worthy addition: the former Google CEO and executive chairman has decided that social networks are “amplifiers for idiots.”

              The fuller quote, according to Bloomberg: “The context of social networks serving as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people is not what we intended.”

              Without knowing who “we” refers to, you might think he’s talking about how the entire tech industry has failed to keep sites like Facebook and Twitter from creating echo chambers and polarizing politics around the world (though some argue we can’t blame social networks alone).

            • Facebook Dating launches in Europe after lengthy delay

              While the service still only appears as a tab in Facebook’s mobile app, it’s deeply integrated with the rest of the social giant’s products. Your profile can pull stories and photos from Instagram, you can initiate Messenger video calls from chats, and the splashy Secret Crush feature searches both your Instagram followers and Facebook friends for potential matches.

            • Facebook’s Dating Service Goes Live In Europe After Long Delay

              Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner at the Irish watchdog, said in an interview this week that Facebook had since provided “detailed clarifications” on the processing of personal data in the context of the dating feature. “We will continue to monitor the product as it launches across the EU this week,” he added.

            • Despite Concessions, Experts Warn $2.1B Google-Fitbit Deal Risks Privacy, Competition

              The European Commission has extended its deadline for a decision on Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-tracking company Fitbit, despite Google last week tweaking its concessions aimed at allaying European Union antitrust concerns, according to news reports.

              The commission, which acts as the EU’s competition regulator, is investigating the privacy and antitrust implications of the deal.

            • China welcomes lifting of TikTok ban in Pakistan

              The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Monday restored TikTok services across the country after a 10-day hiatus under certain conditions. The authority warned the company that the spread of “vulgarity and indecent content” as well as the “abuse of societal values” would result in a permanent ban.

              The ban, which was placed on Oct 9 after the regulator received complaints against “immoral content”, was lifted after an assurance regarding effective “moderation of content” by the TikTok management in a virtual meeting, according to PTA.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Guilty Verdict in the Massacre of Jesuits Marks a “Milestone of Justice” for El Salvador

        “The conviction marks a milestone of justice in the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have occurred in El Salvador,” said David Morales, director of Strategic Litigation for the Cristosal organization. “Justice had been denied in this country and now criminal justice has been done, at least for one of those responsible. It is the first time that these war crimes have been addressed in a criminal proceeding and reached a conviction,

        The Spanish court sentenced Montano to a historic sentence of 133 years for the massacre of six Spanish Jesuit priests and two Salvadoran employees who worked at the Central American University (UCA) in San Salvador. The murders were carried out on the university campus by a military commando on the night of November 16, 1989.

      • Scott Atlas Is Trump’s Doctor Death

        He’s a reminder of an infamous Russian who “probably killed more human beings than any individual scientist in history.”

      • Ex-Mexican Military Head Arrested in U.S. on Drug Charges. Should He Be Tried for Massacres, Too?

        We speak with legendary Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández about a case that has sent shockwaves throughout Mexico: the U.S. arrest of Mexico’s former defense secretary for allegedly working with a major drug cartel while heading Mexico’s military. General Salvador Cienfuegos served as secretary of defense from 2012 to 2018 in the former government of President Enrique Peña Nieto and has long been accused of human rights abuses, including refusing to allow investigators to interview soldiers who may have been involved in the 2014 disappearance and likely massacre of 43 students from a teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. Hernández’s book “Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers” links top Mexican government officials to the world’s most powerful drug cartels, and she has received so many death threats that the National Human Rights Commission assigned her two full-time bodyguards. Despite the danger, she has continued to report. We are also joined by John Gibler, author and independent journalist based in Mexico, and examine how Mexican soldiers were involved in the 2014 disappearance and apparent massacre of the 43 students in Ayotzinapa.

      • Nukes on the Moon?

        While our species’ insatiable scientific curiosity has undoubtedly led to some beneficial inventions, it has also drawn us inexorably towards our own downfall. Our zeal to create the atomic bomb ignored logic, ethics, consequences and the fundamentals of human rights.

        The bomb brought us so-called civil nuclear power reactors, the ugly and irresponsible spawn of a weapon that leaves us perched perpetually on the precipice of extinction. But there is nothing “civil” about nuclear power.

      • Brennan’s Nuremberg Defense: One More Whitewash of the CIA’s Torture Program

        Bob Gates refused to tell “truth to power” regarding Iran-contra and, as a result, he had to withdraw his nomination as CIA director in 1986.  Gates did so after the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, David Boren (D-OK), alerted him that the committee believed he had lied about Iran-contra and therefore would not be recommended for confirmation.  Similarly, John Brennan had to turn down President Barack Obama’s preference for naming Brennan as CIA director, since Brennan’s acquiescence with the sadistic policy of torture and abuse and the cover-up of the shoot down of a missionary plane in Peru would create confirmation problems.  Interestingly, both Gates and Brennan managed to rehabilitate their credentials over a four-year period, and withstood significant opposition to be confirmed to lead CIA the second time around.

        Brennan claims to have written a “brutally honest memoir” and stresses the importance of integrity, which is why the shadings and outright deceits of his story are particularly troublesome.  Brennan maintains that he was not in the chain of command for decisions to conduct extraordinary renditions and torture and abuse, but he was chief of staff and deputy executive director under CIA director Tenet when these decisions were made.  In his memoir, Brennan states that he decided against a career in clandestine operations because he thoroughly opposed tactics of “intimidation, bullying, and threats of physical violence” in coercing “individuals to cooperate with us.”  Years later, however, he expressed no opposition to tactics of waterboarding and actual physical violence as well as the renditions policy that sent suspects to Arab intelligence services that conducted their own sadistic practices.  These policies were violations of U.S. law, international law, and the U.S. Constitution.

      • Nuclear War Makes a Comeback

        On War on the Rocks, an online platform for national security articles and podcasts, Tong Zhao, a senior fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, reported August 11 on public calls in China “to quickly and massively build up its nuclear forces” on the theory that only a “more robust nuclear posture” would prevent war with the United States.

        The biggest nuclear arms budget ever is nearing approval in the US Congress, and the Trump administration has raised the possibility of resuming nuclear tests. President Trump has pulled the United States out of the1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia, while the New Start Treaty capping Russian and U.S. nuclear warheads and delivery systems is set to expire next February if the two countries don’t agree to extend it.

      • Fighting Racism in the US Marine Corps

        The one base that hadn’t had an outbreak of racial violence was the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, where I was stationed. We were a base where Marine pilots came to learn bombing and gunnery practices.

        I was an avionics technician, trained to work on communications and navigation equipment in A-4 Skyhawk aircraft; but my lack of seniority had knocked me down to work on vacuum-tubed radio equipment in CH-47 helicopters. I wasn’t very good at it; I guess the night I threw a 75 pound radio against a cement brick wall in frustration kinda gave me away.

      • Britannic Impunity: Torture and the UK Overseas Operations Bill

        Veterans minister Johnny Mercer had his lines in order, and they were not particularly convincing. “This legislation is not about providing an amnesty or putting troops above the law but protecting them from lawyers intent on rewriting history to line their own pockets.” For Mercer, Britannia is exceptional, a cut above the rest, suggesting, in the lingering wisdom of British imperialism, that they are just a bit more exceptional in hypocrisy than others.

        The Ministry of Defence has been feathering grounds for such changes arguing that unnecessary claims have been made against its personnel. They include compensation claims for unlawful detention regarding operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. To this can be added 1,400 judicial review claims for investigations and compensations on the basis that human rights have been violated. Of these, 70 percent assessed by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team were dismissed as having no case to answer.

      • Demanding Investigation, Amnesty International and UN Official Condemn Killing of #EndSARS Protesters by Nigerian Forces

        “There need to be immediate, independent, transparent, and thorough investigations, not just into last night’s killings, but also into all the previous violations committed by security forces.”

      • ‘A Source of Inspiration’ for Egalitarians Everywhere: Progressive International Celebrates Triumph of Democracy in Bolivia

        “Bolivia’s election not only showed the world how to defeat authoritarianism and its imperialist allies. It also revealed the power of international solidarity to defend democracy around the world.”

      • Decisive Victory of MAS in Bolivia: A Blow to Anti-Indigenous and Anti-Socialist Coups in the Americas

        The decisive electoral victory of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia may be a point of inflection on the continent that advances the construction of a new South American socialist bloc.

        After having been removed from power by a military coup with fascist, anti-Indigenous, and neoliberal elements a year ago, ex-president Evo Morales, with his allies, presidential candidate Luis Arce and vice-presidential candidate David Choquehuanca, declared victory in the elections that came to a close on the evening of October 18. According to an exit poll, Arce, who served as Minister of Finance in the Morales administration, was leading in the presidential contest with 52.4 percent of the vote and ex-president Carlos Mesa came in second place with 31.5 percent. The right wing candidate Luis Camacho, allied with the de facto president Jeanine Añez, follows in a distant third place, with only 14.1 percent of the vote. Añez and Mesa have both recognized the outcome of the election[1].

      • America’s New Policy of Demoting Democracy

        The Democrats wanted a recount of the votes in Florida. The Republicans didn’t. The case went to the Supreme Court. In December 2000, in a 5-4 decision, the Court stopped the recount in Florida and awarded the election to Bush.

        At the same time, halfway around the world, a young East Timorese activist was sitting in a U.S.-sponsored democracy seminar. He was bored and frustrated. As the activist recounted to me several years later, the American presenter was lecturing his audience on the virtues of the U.S. model of democracy.

      • Soldiers open fire in Nigeria, drawing global attention to weekslong protests

        Akpan, who has been documenting the demonstrations for weeks, told NBC News most protesters were sitting on the ground, brandishing Nigerian flags and singing the national anthem by the tollgate near the bridge that connects the affluent area with the mainland of the city.

        Around 3 p.m. Tuesday he said he saw bridge workers near the tollgate take down security cameras and switch-off street lighting, which raised his suspicions. Hours later, Akpan said Nigerian military in uniform arrived and within seconds began shooting at the crowd.

      • Threatening emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple states

        CNN and The Washington Post reported that voters in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alaska and Florida all said they received threatening emails warning them to vote for President Trump in the upcoming election, adding that the mysterious sender claimed to have access to voter history and “will come after you” should they fail to vote for the president.

        “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you,” reads one email obtained by the Post. Dozens were reportedly sent, including more than 180 to students, faculty and staff of the University of Florida, a school spokesperson told CNN.

      • Proposal by Katie Porter, House Dems Would Fund Mental Health First Responders to Reduce Police Violence

        The co-sponsors cited research showing people with mental illnesses are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement officers.

      • German battle about arming drones: Unmanned cardboard characters

        The German Social Democratic Party sets conditions for the procurement of Israeli armed drones, which are fulfilled anyway

      • Grand Juror in Breonna Taylor Case Speaks Out, Accusing AG Cameron of Misrepresenting Proceedings

        A judge ruled that grand jury records regarding the Taylor case should be released so the public can determine whether “publicly elected officials are being honest.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Video Hearing Wednesday: Advocacy Orgs Go to Court to Block Trump’s Retaliation Against Fact-Checking

        San Francisco – On Wednesday, October 21 at 11 am ET/2 pm PT, voter advocacy organizations will ask a district court to block an unconstitutional Executive Order that retaliates against online services for fact-checking President Trump’s false posts about voting and the upcoming election. Information on attending the video hearing can be found on the court’s website.

        The plaintiffs— Common Cause, Free Press, Maplight, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino—are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Protect Democracy, and Cooley LLP. At Wednesday’s hearing, Cooley partner Kathleen Hartnett will argue that the president’s Executive Order should not be enforced until the lawsuit is resolved.

    • Environment

      • Geology’s human footprint is enough to spur rage

        Once again science has presented evidence that a new geological epoch is here. This human footprint is all our own work.

      • Ex-EPA official who spoke about Pruitt scandals claims retaliation in new lawsuit

        The lawsuit was filed Tuesday and first reported by E&E News on Wednesday.

        Chmielewski claimed that after being stripped of access to the EPA’s building, he received documents signed by other officials falsely stating that he had resigned. He alleged that he was later told his insurance was canceled.

      • Air pollution killed nearly half a million newborns in 2019, report finds

        Hundreds of thousands of newborns, mostly in India and sub-Saharan Africa, died from air pollution in 2019, a study has found. Noxious fumes from cooking fuels are blamed for causing the majority of the babies’ deaths.

        Some 476,000 infants across the world died from the adverse effects of exposure to air pollution in 2019, a new global study has found.

        The State of Global Air study released Wednesday said nearly two-thirds of those deaths were related to the burning of poor-quality fuels for cooking.

      • Air Pollution Kills Almost Half a Million Babies Around the World

        The majority of newborns who lost their lives to air pollution were in the developing world, with indoor air quality to blame for two-thirds of the deaths, according to the State of Global Air 2020 report. Scientists discovered that polluted air has an impact on the health of babies while they are still in the womb and could lead to premature birth or low birth weight – both factors associated with infant mortality.

      • Advocates Welcome ‘Inspiring’ Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act as ‘Exactly What America Needs Right Now’

        “By presenting smart, focused solutions to the climate crisis, this pioneering legislation propels the oceans into the heart of the climate debate in Congress.”

      • Pressed on Climate Views and Ties to Shell Oil, Barrett Once Again Calls Established Climate Science ‘Controversial’

        “Barrett again followed the standard script of climate denialists, repeatedly attempting to cast climate science as unsettled and a matter of controversy that she could not offer an opinion on.”

      • Large-Scale Permafrost Thawing

        Making matters much, much worse, new research has identified past warming events of large-scale permafrost thaw in the Arctic that may be analogous to today, thus spotting a parallel problem of large-scale thawing accompanied by massively excessive carbon emissions spewing into the atmosphere, like there’s no tomorrow. (Source: Jannik Martens, Remobilization of Dormant Carbon From Siberian-Arctic Permafrost During Three Past Warming Events, Science Advances, vol. 6, no. 42, October 16, 2020)

        Permafrost thawing is not, at all times, simply “thawing.” Of course, as a standalone, the word “thawing” implies a rather evenly keeled methodical process without any specific definition of scale. But, there’s thawing, and then, there’s “large-scale thawing,” which is kinda like turning loose a behemoth. The results are never pretty.

      • Energy

        • Texas Regulators Failing to Act on Pollution Complaints in Permian Oilfields, New Report Finds

          However, in response to those 141 complaints, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) took action to reduce pollution — by, for example, issuing a violation to the company responsible — just 17 times, according to a new report published today by Earthworks, which describes a pattern in which Texas regulators failed to address oilfield pollution problems, allowing leaks to continue in some cases for months.

        • Press Worries About a Fracking Ban’s ‘Risk’ to Democrats—Not Fracking’s Threat to Planet

          There is no reason for a fracking ban to be “political suicide” unless corporate journalists are determined to equate that with the death of the fossil fuel industry.

        • This Massive Facebook Solar Project Will Power Shell’s Fracking Operations in Texas

          The social media corporation helped make possible the 379-megawatt Prospero I solar array, located about 18 miles west of the city of Andrews and covering an area five times larger than New York City’s Central Park. The project represents a model initiative for Facebook, which is striving to become a leader on climate change. A June 2019 Associated Press article about Prospero I repeatedly implies its energy will power Facebook’s data centers, where photos, videos, and other information is stored. The article quotes CEO Mark Zuckerberg in saying that, “These new solar projects will help us reach” a goal “for all our data centers and offices to use 100% renewable energy by 2020.”

        • Earth to Biden: Stop Talking About Fracking

          One of President Donald Trump and Republicans’ favorite hobby horses on the campaign trail is the absurd notion that Joe Biden and Democrats would subject Americans to a “radical socialist Green New Deal.” The Grand Old Party would like voters to believe that Democrats are just an election away from abolishing hamburgers, pickup trucks, and airplanes, sending electricity bills through the roof, and putting all the workers on unemployment insurance. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence hurled these familiar attacks against former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris during the presidential and vice presidential debates. While Data for Progress has observed that voters in fact support Biden’s plan for a massive investment in clean-energy jobs and do not believe Trump and Republicans’ Green New Deal smears, a key sticking point on the issue of fracking remains.

        • Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

          And then there’s the environmental problem. The environmental problem? Aren’t we talking about digital coins? Yes, which makes it even stranger. Solving all those complex puzzles requires a huge amount of energy. So much energy that the two biggest blockchains in the world – bitcoin and Ethereum – are now using up the same amount of electricity as the whole of Austria.

          Carrying out a payment with Visa requires about 0.002 kilowatt-hours; the same payment with bitcoin uses up 906 kilowatt-hours, more than half a million times as much, and enough to power a two-person household for about three months.

          And the environmental problem is only going to grow. As miners put more effort into solving the puzzles (ie, building more of those dark server caves in Alaska), the puzzles will automatically become more difficult, requiring more calculation power. It’s an endless, pointless arms race in order to facilitate the same number of transactions with more and more energy.

          And for what? This is actually the most important question: what pr oblem does blockchain actually solve? OK, so with bitcoin, banks can’t just remove money from your account at their own discretion. But does this really happen? I have never heard of a bank simply taking money from someone’s account. If a bank did something like that, they would be hauled into court in no time and lose their license. Technically it’s possible; legally, it’s a death sentence.

        • [Old] This website is killing the planet

          So I ran a web page performance test and got some grim results: my website takes over a minute to load on a Moto G4 on using 3G data networks. It’s just as bad using a desktop PC in Nottingham on 1.5Mbps DSL. My website is bloated with large images and a bunch of JavaScript, which means it’s eating up lots of energy transmitting those bits and bytes.

          But how much energy? I used the Website Carbon Calculator to find out. Turns out that

          6.90g of CO2 is produced every time someone visits the homepage

          it emits the amount of carbon that 4 trees absorb in a year, and

          it uses enough electricity to drive an electric car 1,116km

          Eugh. That’s disgusting. For each year my website has been online, I should have planted 4 trees just for the homepage alone. But, instead, my laziness has filled the atmosphere with more and more carbon.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Media Owned by Wealthy Are Quick to Tell You Wealth Taxes Are a Bad Idea

        The coronavirus pandemic has greatly increased wealth inequality in the United States, a key issue in the upcoming presidential election. Polls are currently looking good for the Democrats, many of whom have been murmuring about—or even demanding—a new wealth tax. Recent surveys show the idea is overwhelmingly popular with the electorate, with voters in 11 polled states more than three times as likely to support than oppose a candidate backing a tax on the assets of the wealthy.

      • A Short History of the ‘On Again, Off Again’ Fiscal Stimulus Negotiations

        Last March’s ‘CARES ACT’ was not a fiscal stimulus. It was instead about ‘mitigation’–meaning the various measures contained in that $2.3 trillion package (actually nearly $3T when the additional $650 billion in business-investor tax cuts are added to the Act) were designed only to put a floor under the collapsing US economy–not to generate a sustained economic recovery. Even the politicians voting for it publicly acknowledged at the time that it was not a stimulus bill, but rather a set of measures designed to buy time–no more than 10-12 weeks at most–until a more serious economic recovery Act could be implemented.

        The real fiscal stimulus bill was to follow, designed to pick the economy up off the floor and generate a sustained recovery as the economy reopened. The reopening began in May and gained a little momentum over the summer. But not enough to generate a sustained recovery by itself that was expected by late summer.

      • Employees Say Foxconn & Donald Trump’s Wisconsin Factory Scam Was An Absurdist Hellscape

        You might recall how the Wisconsin GOP, with Donald Trump and Paul Ryan at the head of the parade, struck what they claimed was an incredible deal with Foxconn to bring thousands of high-paying jobs to the state. Initially, the state promised Foxconn a $3 billion subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin LCD panel plant that created 13,000 jobs. The amount of political hype the deal generated was utterly legendary, helping market Trump as a savvy dealmaker who’d be restoring technological greatness to the American Midwest.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Is Butchering Our Regulatory Infrastructure
      • Damnatio Memoriae: The First Step to Recovery in a Post-Trump America

        To get beyond the present crisis, we must undo his crimes and follies.

      • Sloppy Methodology: Social Media, Censorship and the New York Post’s Hunter Biden Story

        The article in question featured Hunter Biden, making mention of an alleged email from April 2015 suggesting that he had introduced his father, Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden, to Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm. “Dear Hunter,” goes this email supposedly obtained by the Post, “thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent[sic] some time together. It’s realty[sic] an honor and pleasure.”

        The email correspondence had been purportedly obtained from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, though the owner of the computer repair store who passed on the material to the FBI and one Rudy Giuliani was unsure if Hunter had left the computer with him. Thin stuff to go on.

      • “A Barrett Confirmation Is a Catastrophe”: What Democrats Can Do to Block Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

        Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout says Senate Democrats can still block the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, if they use every possible procedural method available to them to slow and frustrate the process. “A Barrett confirmation is a catastrophe,” Teachout says. “A 6-3 majority on the court is basically a bomb coming at what is left of our protections against corruption in politics, against corporate money, against what is left of the Voting Rights Act.”

      • Trump’s Durable Base and Rolling Coup

        Every few weeks or so for the last three years, I have engaged in the masochistic exercise of seeing whether Donald Trump’s latest outrages have significantly hurt his approval rating. The answer is almost always the same: not really.

        Which is depressing, for the orange-brushed fascist’s maniac’s crimes and horrors are endless. Where to begin? Here’s a short list:

      • Labour Under Keir Starmer

        As is to be expected from someone who was a top lawyer before entering politics, Starmer is a skilled parliamentary debater, and week-in week-out trounces Boris “BoJo” Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

        Apart from skinning BoJo in parliament, and calling out the failings of the government, Starmer has been somewhat lacklustre.

      • Two White Men

        How do we know this?

        Our institutions, which our presidents are sworn to uphold, are designed to maintain this privilege. The U.S. Supreme Court is an oracle that claims every question in the present can be answered by precedent. This is a country that defines itself by reference to the past. Never mind that our past is founded on the slave labor of Black Americans and the genocidal elimination of Native Americans. Its innate prejudice is further elaborated by the Chinese Exclusion acts, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the mass incarceration of black and brown men, and, most recently, the heinous acts of family separation and commitment to concentration camps that await Mexican and Central American immigrants. These are acts committed under the full protection of the laws and institutions of the United States, and by a leadership that has fully internalized the validity of white-male supremacy.

      • Young Activists Aren’t Waiting For Anyone

        Older generations have generally favored “nowism,” which privileges short-term well-being at the expense of long-term environmental and societal sustainability. And today’s youth are done with it.

      • Voting Heroes

        But the stunning pictures also call for reflection. How is that that these people still have faith that their votes will count? That they still have faith in the electoral system? After all the denigration of the voting process, after all the rumors about fraud, the lines show that there are still believers, there are still people who trust the electoral process, including the outdated Electoral College.

        In a deeper sense, those waiting in line believe that the people they will choose will represent them loyally once they are elected. Those waiting in line not only believe in the electoral process, they also believe that the democratic system works; i.e., in Abraham Lincoln’s terms: government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

      • Top 12 Reasons Biden Is Not My Fault

        First, millions of people could have publicly announced that they would not vote for either rotten candidate but only someone who stood for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, public education through college, demilitarization, and massive taxation of corporations and billionaires — or at least one of those things. Either a candidate would have credibly changed or a message would have been sent very loudly to all future candidates. I tried promoting this plan, and a relative handful of people mumbled their agreement. Apart from the Green Party doing its thing, and a new party being started, there was no more organizing around this than there was to reject the Supreme Court handing George W. Bush the crown.

        Second, people could vote for a lesser evil while organizing educational and activist campaigns to try to save the world from that evil. There’s a credible, though uncertain and muddy case, that the lesser evil is Joe Biden. Thousands of people have enthusiastically screamed this case at me at the top of their lungs, and accused me of racism, sexism, and working in the employ of the Russian government — even though my actual, real-world employment includes working for an organization pushing just this approach. I’ve pushed just this approach because it’s my second choice and my first choice above has gone nowhere. I’ve also maintained honesty about the rottenness of both candidates, which has angered and confused many supporters of both who believe that part of supporting a candidate is lying about him.

      • An Open Letter to Biden: 5 Easy Steps to Reduce the Threat of Nuclear War

        Dear President-Elect Biden,

        I’m so happy that you were elected because in January you can start to address major problems in America. But before you deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, immigration, gun violence, and climate change, all of which are very important, I recommend that first you take immediate steps to lower the danger of nuclear war. You will be Commander in Chief, and there are several first steps you can take immediately to make the world safer.

      • How Biden Flubbed Town Hall Foreign Policy Question

        This question encapsulated all the smoke and mirrors that Trump has used to confuse the public and obscure his broken promises to end America’s wars, bring our troops home and build a more peaceful world. This was a fantastic opportunity for Biden to clarify the reality of Trump’s abysmal record and explain what he would do instead.  But he didn’t. Instead he endorsed some of the most deceptive elements of Trump’s propaganda, dropped some clangers of his own and, in a classic Freudian slip, laid bare his own enduring commitment to American imperialism.

        In response to the questioner’s designation of Israel’s deal with the UAE and Bahrain as a “modern-day miracle,” Biden simply rolled over and said, “I complement the president on the deal with Israel.” What he should have said was something like this:

      • Soon, The Old-Guard Democrats Have To Go

        Some of the leading Democrats are getting very long in the tooth. While they are well connected and great at fund-raising, they are growing out of touch with USAian society and the younger members of the party. After they win this election, they should step aside. This includes Biden who is older than I am. The time to be a mature wise leader is in the 50s, not the 80s.

      • What Happened to the Voting Rights Act?

        This country has a long history of disenfranchising and suppressing the votes of people of color, particularly in the South. But in 2013 the voter suppression efforts of yesteryear came roaring back. That’s when the Supreme Court gutted key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Those provisions had stopped states with histories of voter suppression from changing their election laws without an okay from the federal government. 

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘All You Fascists Bound To Lose’ By Resistance Revival Chorus with Rhiannon Giddens

        The following was originally published by Ongoing History of Protest Songs. “This machine kills fascists” was emblazoned on folk singer Woody Guthrie’s guitar, and he used his weapon of choice to compose timely songs of protest, which still remain relevant. One of those tunes is “All You Fascists Bound To Lose” which Guthrie wrote in 1942. 

        The song was recently reworked by the Resistance Revival Chorus and Rhiannon Giddens. It appears on the Resistance Revival Chorus’ debut album “This Joy.”

      • What Happens If the US Presidential Election Yields No Clear Winner?

        With the 2020 U.S. presidential election just two weeks off, political scientists and election law experts are gaming out a variety of scenarios the nation could face on Election Day and in the weeks that follow. The possibilities vary between a clear cut victory by either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden, and an unresolved legal battle that leaves the outcome uncertain into January, when the new Congress is supposed to certify the election’s final result.

        Experts say determining the winner of this particular election is especially fraught because of an unprecedented level of absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Variation in laws among the states about how and when to count absentee ballots means that a final count could take days or weeks to complete.

        In what he called the “nightmare scenario,” political scholar William Galston of the nonprofit Brookings Institution writes that a closely contested election in which the outcome is in doubt would “[throw] the country into chaos under highly adverse circumstances.”

      • Twitter Investigation Report: Report on Investigation of Twitter’s July 15, 2020 Cybersecurity Incident and the Implications for Election Security

        On July 15, 2020, a 17-year old [attacker] and his accomplices breached Twitter’s network and seized control of dozens of Twitter accounts assigned to high-profile users. For several hours, the world watched while the [attackers] carried out a public cyberattack, by seizing one high-profile account after another and tweeting out a “double your bitcoin” scam. The Hackers took over the Twitter accounts of politicians, celebrities, and entrepreneurs, including Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian West, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, as well as Twitter accounts of several cryptocurrency companies regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. And for several hours Twitter seemed unable to stop the [attack].

      • China warns Swedish firms of tit-for-tat action after Huawei ban

        The Swedish telecoms regulator issued a ban on Tuesday that would require carriers to remove existing Huawei and ZTE equipment by 2025, citing national security concerns.

        Chinese telecoms companies have faced bans and heightened scrutiny in recent months over fears Beijing could use their overseas deals to spy on foreign citizens.

        That has provoked a furious response from Beijing, which denies the allegations and says trumped-up security concerns are being used against its successful tech firms to hem them in for commercial reasons.

      • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Among Us’ Twitch Stream Promotes Voting to 435,000 Viewers

        On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter that she was looking to play “Among Us,” the massively popular murder mystery video game, on Twitch to encourage people to vote. On Tuesday night, she launched her livestream with Rep. Ilhan Omar and several popular Twitch streamers, including Pokimane, HasanAbi, Myth and JackSepticEye.

        According to the Associated Press, Ocasio-Cortez’s stream had 435,000 concurrent viewers at its highest point. The congresswoman’s Twitch account now has more than 575,000 followers, and her three-hour “Among Us” stream received more than 4.5 million views.

      • Amy Coney Barrett, Constitutional Precedent, and the Problem of Originalism

        The foundation of the US legal system is strongly based on the concept of legal precedent.  Judges when interpreting the law or the Constitution are supposed to respect past decisions when there are similar facts.  “Like cases are to be the same” is the rule.  Respect for legal precedent is founded on the idea of stability, consistently, and the belief that people have relied on the law to operate in a certain way and it should not change unexpectedly.

        Departure from precedent is supposed to be an exception and not a rule.  When it comes to constitutional precedent, the Supreme Court has only reversed itself 147 times in history.  Historically the justification for reversing constitution precedent was that the prior decision  proved no longer to be workable or that  the conditions under which it was decided had so changed that the factual basis for it had been undermined.  Precedent could also be rejected if new facts pointed to the lack of viability of the old decision.  Deference to constitutional precedent historically was firm even though the Court has said it should not be given as much respect for statutory precedent because the latter would be easier for Congress to overturn or overturn if the Court made a mistake.

      • Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins in Nashville on Thursday for final Presidential debate

        Green Party Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will appear at a Meet & Greet on October 22, 3-5 p.m. Central, at Camp 308, 407 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville. He will then travel across town to Belmont University, 1900 Belmont Blvd. for the Presidential Debate.

        [...]

        The Economic Bill of Rights is integral to the Hawkins/Walker campaign’s Ecosocialist Green New Deal, which also includes a Green Economy Reconstruction Program to transform all productive sectors of the US economy to zero-to-negative greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030. As the country plunges into the Covid-19 Depression, Hawkins considers the Green New Deal as an economic recovery as well as a climate action program.

        “We need a multi-trillion dollar public investment in public enterprise and planning to convert our economy to 100% clean energy on the timescale that the carbon budgets of climate science demand. It is also how we are going to climb out of this economic hole. The dogmatic blind faith of both the Democrats and Republicans that private enterprise alone will lead a recovery and make the energy transition is a recipe for a long depression and a climate catastrophe,” Hawkins said.

      • McCarthyism 2020: A Second Generation NLG Member and Red-Baiting in Texas

        He is also, according to his opponent Rep. Michael McCaul, “the most radical liberal running for Congress in America.”
        After Siegel won the Democratic nomination for the Texas 10th Congressional District on July 14, 2020, McCaul unveiled a series of attacks attempting to portray Siegel as a “red diaper baby” who “won’t stand up to China.”

        Exhibit A for McCaul’s attack? A speech Siegel gave to the San Francisco NLG chapter in 2014, when Siegel’s parents, Anne Weills and Dan Siegel, were honored at the annual testimonial dinner. As part of the tribute, Mike Siegel joked that if his parents were Cuban revolutionaries, his mom would be more like Che Guevara (because she has always been committed to grassroots organizing) while his dad is more like Fidel (drawn to institutional leadership). Now, McCaul has injected this speech into the campaign, as he paints Siegel as “too liberal for Texas.”

        The irony in all this, is that Mike Siegel’s parents faced red-baiting throughout their decades in the civil rights movement. Anne Weills started working in the early 1960s to organize for African-Americans to get jobs and resist housing segregation in San Francisco. And Dan Siegel got his start during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

        As Dan says, “it was my trip to the South that inspired me to become a civil rights lawyer. As we worked to integrate lunch counters and support the movement of Black activists across the South, we faced immense repression. Beatings, threats on our life, and of course police brutality and arrests. I noticed that there were few lawyers who were there to defend us and bail us out — and most of them were Lawyers Guild members.”

        Mike Siegel started his career as a public school teacher and then attended Cornell Law School, where he was active in the student NLG chapter. He says, “I was inspired to become a lawyer when I was teaching in Brooklyn, New York, and lived through the attacks of 9/11. After seeing the community come together in a beautiful way, to support each other and foster movements for peace and solidarity, I was horrified how the Bush Administration used that moment to not only advance war abroad, but to also terrorize the Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern communities at home. I became a lawyer to fight Attorney General John Ashcroft and support movements for civil and human rights.”

      • The New Humanitarian | Catholic charity boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

        An alleged racist incident capped months of complaints from staff about management at the Catholic Relief Services offices in Sudan.

        In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, Catholic Relief Services told its staff it was launching an initiative to stamp out racism within the NGO, one of the world’s largest charities.

        Soon after, its American boss in Sudan sent staff a reminder for the launch. The same day – 28 July – he was arrested on a charge of verbal abuse for calling a security guard a “slave”.

        The allegations of racism weren’t the first against Driss Moumane – at least three whistleblower complaints had been filed against him, dating as far back as 2018, according to a six-month investigation by The New Humanitarian that involved interviews with several former and current employees.

      • The New Humanitarian | Why sanctions should be a key issue in this US election

        Sanctions have become more of a geopolitical tool than about protecting human rights. It’s time to change course.

        [...]

        The legality of unilateral sanctions imposed by countries or regional groups is dubious in itself, especially when the sanctions are not authorised by the UN Security Council or go beyond its authorisation – most unilateral sanctions fall into one of these two categories. With narrow exceptions, the UN Charter designates the Security Council as the sole body that can authorise sanctions to enforce international law.

        Too often, we face the contradiction that measures introduced ostensibly to deter human rights violations are themselves contributing to those very same violations – and some even create, or worsen, humanitarian crises, for example in Syria or Venezuela.

        It is essential for the world’s nations to act against this harm.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Importance of Blasphemy

        The stubborn persistence of Islamist terror speaks to the durability of ferocious faith-based dogmas, one of which seeks to reintroduce secular Western democracies to the long-forgotten notion of “blasphemy.” This will only come as a surprise to those with short memories. Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa suborning the murder of Salman Rushdie for merely writing a novel reignited the old debate about the place of tolerance in an age of religious hatred. More than 30 years later, theocratic forces have grown more diffuse but also tenacious.

      • Philosophy Is Being Hijacked by Woke Twitter Mobs

        It didn’t take long for the paper and Editors’ Note to come the attention of the wokerati on Twitter. Macquarie University philosophy professor Mark Alfano deemed my paper “shit” and announced his plan to “ruin [my] reputation permanently and deservedly.” He started a petition on change.org demanding an “apology, retraction, or resignation (or some combination of these three)” from the journal editors. A number of philosophers—many of whom did not even read the paper—joined the campaign to get it retracted and/or smear me. University of South Carolina professor Justin Weinberg promoted Alfano’s petition on his widely read philosophy blog, Daily Nous. He also published a guest post that falsely and preposterously claimed that I defended “segregation” and “apartheid schemes.”

        But the editors of Philosophical Psychology stood firm. Van Leeuwen and Herschbach wrote a statement on Facebook reiterating that the review process had been carried out properly, and declaring, “Efforts to silence unwelcome opinion… are doing a disservice to the community.”

      • Paris terror attack: Beheaded teacher Samuel Paty to be awarded France’s highest honour

        Samuel Paty, the 47-year old history teacher who was beheaded in a Parisian suburb last week, will posthumously receive France’s highest award, the “Legion d’Honneur”.

        Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer made the announcement during an interview with BFM TV on Tuesday morning.

      • Beheaded Teacher To Be Posthumously Awarded France’s Highest Honor

        On Tuesday, French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told broadcaster BFMTV that Paty will be posthumously awarded the Legion d’Honneur, reserved for French military or civilians who serve the nation in a notable way.

        Paty will also be made a Commandeur of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, an honor that recognizes outstanding contributions made by teachers and academics to their institutions.

      • Thailand Slashes at Media Freedom in Response to Anti-Establishment Protests

        The decree bars the “publication of news, other media, and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order.” That was understood to mean no live news footage of anti-government demonstrations.

        Protestors were quick to show their defiance. Crowds measured in their thousands gathered at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on Thursday afternoon. Still more gathered at multiple other locations in the capital the next day.

        And Bangkok police were quick to use their new powers. They arrested a news reporter for Prachatai as he live-streamed a police dispersal operation on Friday evening.

      • Artists are irked by Twitter’s change to retweets

        It’s all the more pressing now that Twitter has, temporarily at least, changed its retweet system to encourage users to quote tweets and add their own words on top, rather than simply boost someone else’s message. Artists say quote tweets take attention away from their profiles, making it harder for them to be discovered, while someone else gets the glory.

        “When you’re quote tweeting an artist, it’s almost like saying ‘I feel like what I have to say about this piece is more important than the actual piece,’” RadiantG, an artist, journalist, and indie game developer, told The Verge.

      • Section 230 Basics: There Is No Such Thing As A Publisher-Or-Platform Distinction

        We’ve said it before, many times: there is no such thing as a publisher/platform distinction in Section 230. But in those posts we also said other things about how Section 230 works, and perhaps doing so obscured that basic point. So just in case we’ll say it again here, simply and clearly: there is no such thing as a publisher/platform distinction in Section 230. The idea that anyone could gain or lose the immunity the statute provides depending on which one they are is completely and utterly wrong.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi sues Saudi crown prince

        The suit says that the defendants were “aware of Mr. Khashoggi’s US ties and brutally killed Mr Khashoggi to silence him and prevent him from continuing in the United States his advocacy for democracy in the Arab world.”

      • Khashoggi fiancee sues MBS, Saudi officials in US over murder

        Turkish citizen Hatice Cengiz and the human rights group Khashoggi formed before his death, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), is pursuing Mohammed bin Salman and 28 others for damages over the October 2, 2018 killing of the US-based writer.

        Cengiz claims personal injury and financial losses over Khashoggi’s death, while DAWN said its operations and objectives were hampered by the loss of its founder and central figure.

      • Jamal Khashoggi’s Fiancee And His Pro-Democracy Group Sue Saudi Crown Prince

        The complaint, filed in a U.S. district court in Washington, alleges that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing because he considered Jamal Khashoggi’s work to promote democracy in the Middle East an existential threat. It was filed by DAWN, the democracy organization that Khashoggi started, and by Hatice Cengiz, his fiancee. The suit names her as Khashoggi’s widow. It says they were finalizing their civil marriage when he was killed. Cengiz spoke by videoconference.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The US Spends More Than $80 Billion a Year Incarcerating 2.3 Million People

        There’s never been a better time to reconsider the entire system.

      • ‘Just Babies at the Time’: ACLU Says It Can’t Find Parents of Over 500 Children Separated From Families by Trump

        “We will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes.”

      • Google sold AI to customs for use at US-Mexico border: report

        Despite protests from its staff in the past leading to its pulling out from controversial US Government projects, Google has now made a deal for its artificial technology to be used by the Trump administration to fortify the US-Mexico border, The Intercept reports, based on documents obtained under a FOIA request.

      • Will ‘Nones’ Bring a Progressive Future?

        This part of the 21st century will be remembered chiefly, I predict, as the era when supernatural religion died among intelligent western people.  I think it will survive mostly as an emotional fringe for lower-brow folks such as those who “speak in tongues.”

        In other words, the Secular Age is blossoming right now, amid many daily distractions.  Evidence is everywhere:

      • First-Time Voters Want to Have a Say in Our Country’s Future

        The ongoing struggle for racial justice. The future for immigrant families. The health and well-being of all Americans. The very fate of our fragile planet. The US faces a crossroads in this year’s elections. Seeking out the stories flying under the national radar, The Nation and Magnum Foundation are partnering on What’s At Stake, a series of photo essays from across the country through the lenses of independent imagemakers. Follow the whole series here. This installment was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

      • Trump State Department Plan to Declare Human Rights Groups ‘Anti-Semitic’ Slammed as ‘Desperate,’ ‘Obscene’

        The designation would target humanitarian organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam, sources said. 

      • Grand juror in Breonna Taylor case says homicide charges were not presented

        An anonymous Kentucky juror from the Breonna Taylor grand jury on Tuesday said state Attorney Daniel Cameron (R) never presented homicide charges for the officers who killed Taylor in her own home back in March.

        The comments come from the same anonymous juror who filed a motion to be able to speak publicly about the case proceedings.

        “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them,” the anonymous juror said in a statement that was released by attorney Kevin Glogower, who is representing two of the jurors. “The grand jury never heard about those laws. Self-defense or justification was never explained either. Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick.”

      • SF Police Used Camera Network to Illegally ‘Spy on Protesters,’ New Lawsuit Alleges

        In the weeks following the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, hundreds of thousands of people in the Bay Area took to city streets to march against police brutality. Despite the mostly peaceful demonstrations that took place in downtown San Francisco, there were also multiple incidents of vandalism, theft and clashes between protesters and police that occurred over consecutive nights, prompting officials to order citywide curfews.

        The San Francisco Police Department responded to these protests in part by commandeering private security cameras to keep an eye, in real-time, on a 27-block area surrounding Union Square, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday that seeks to prevent police from doing so again.

      • Photo of the Day: Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet pro-independence flags wave in Thailand

        As anti-government protests intensified in Thailand on Wednesday (Oct. 14), this photo surfaced on social media showing demonstrators waving the Taiwan independence flag, Hong Kong pro-democracy flag, and the flag of Tibet.

      • The New Humanitarian | COVID-19 and BLM: A new era for aid?

        Welcome to the first episode of Rethinking Humanitarianism, a joint 10-part series with The New Humanitarian and the Center for Global Development.

      • Pioneer Award Ceremony 2020: A Celebration of Communities

        Last week, we celebrated the 29th Annual—and first ever online—Pioneer Award Ceremony, which EFF convenes for our digital heroes and the folks that help make the online world a better, safer, stronger, and more fun place. Like the many Pioneer Award Ceremonies before it, the all-online event was both an intimate party with friends, and a reminder of the critical digital rights work that’s being done by so many groups and individuals, some of whom are not as well-known as they should be.    

        Perhaps it was a feature of the pandemic — not a bug — that anyone could attend this year’s celebration, and anyone can now watch it online. You can also read the full transcript. More than ever before, this year’s Pioneer Award Ceremony was a celebration of online communities— specifically, the Open Technology Fund community working to create better tech globally; the community of Black activists pushing for racial justice in how technology works and is used; and the sex worker community that’s building digital tools to protect one another, both online and offline. 

      • When Does Incompetence Become a Crime?
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • EU Parliament Paves the Way for an Ambitious Internet Bill

        The European Union has made the first step towards a significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive.

        In order to inspire the European Commission, which is currently preparing a proposal for a Digital Services Act Package, the EU Parliament has voted on three related Reports (IMCO, JURI, and LIBE reports), which address the legal responsibilities of platforms regarding user content, include measures to keep users safe online, and set out special rules for very large platforms that dominate users’ lives.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Disney’s Streaming Pivot: How Will New Structure Work in Practice?

        One-year-old streamer Disney+ has been a public success story for Disney, surpassing its five-year goal of attracting more than 60 million subscribers in just nine months. But the service has been a structural challenge for the legacy studio and the center of a power struggle over who has final say in the streamer’s programming lineup, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

        Disney could put an end to that tussling with its Oct. 12 restructuring, which hands its studio leaders greater control over the content they create for outlets like Disney+ while consolidating all budget and distribution decisions under the new Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution group led by former consumer products executive Kareem Daniel. But it’s unclear how this new arrangement will play out in practice.

      • Charlie Brown fans upset over ‘Peanuts’ holiday specials moving exclusively to Apple TV+

        Though Apple will provide limited free access, many are disappointed the animated classics won’t be broadcast on television for the first time since the ’60s.

      • ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ won’t air on ABC this year, moves to Apple TV+

        It has been announced that the Peanuts TV specials that generations of Americans grew up with are moving to Apple TV+ as part of a new corporate deal.

        Among other things, this means “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” began streaming Monday for the digital platform’s subscribers. It will be streamed free Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

        As Charlie himself would say: Rats!!!!! Will no social, political or cultural norms be preserved in 2020? Can no tradition go unscathed? Is nothing, not even the quest for a pumpkin patch sincere enough to draw the Great Pumpkin to its leafy environs, sacred.

        [...]

        Still, I’m bitter. Just add the “Great Pumpkin” TV night to the other traditions being chipped away by the internet — like privacy and legitimate news sources.

      • Quibi is shutting down

        Quibi — the shortform mobile-focused streaming service — is shutting down after just over six months of operation, making it one of the shortest-lived streaming services to date, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company since confirmed that it’ll be shutting down in a Medium post from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman.

        “We feel that we’ve exhausted all our options. As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace,” the announcement reads.

      • Quibi is shutting down, just months after launching

        Quibi will reportedly be returning $350 million of the $1.75 billion it raised from investors. (NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, is a minority investor in Quibi, and NBC News produced a daily show on the platform. NBCUniversal and NBC News declined to comment.)

      • Quibi to Shut Down Six Months After Launch

        The service, which had more than 100 original series, struggled to build up subscribers, coming in well below internal projections, according to a source. According to a report from third-party measurement firm Sensor Tower, Quibi’s mobile app has been downloaded by around 9.6 million users since launch, though not all of those people are necessarily subscribers. Sensor Tower also reports that first-time installs of Quibi in October are down 41 percent from the same period in September.

      • As Quibi Shutters, So Goes Nearly $2 Billion in Major Hollywood Investments

        Disney, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Sony Pictures Entertainment, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV, Entertainment One — the list of Hollywood heavy hitters that poured money into Quibi is a veritable who’s who of entertainment industry giants. Now, with the closure of the mobile streaming startup led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, just six months after launching, so goes nearly $2 billion in investment dollars.

      • Quibi Is Shutting Down After Failing to Find a Buyer

        Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Katzenberg was exploring “strategic options” for Quibi, including a potential sale. Katzenberg pitched a sale of the company — which has about 500,000 paying customers — to Apple, WarnerMedia and Facebook but was rebuffed, The Information reported earlier this month. Katzenberg also struck out in his attempt to sell Quibi’s programming rights to companies including NBCUniversal and Facebook, per The Information’s story this week. NBCU was “put off by the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows it puts on its platform,” according to today’s Journal article.

        Actually, Quibi doesn’t own any of the big-budget premium content for which it has shelled out upwards of $100,000 per minute. The company has seven-year licenses on its short-form series; after two years, content owners have the right to assemble the shows and distribute them elsewhere.

    • Monopolies

      • As U.S. presidential election enters final days, Canada braces for the fallout

        A government official (who asked not to be identified because the person is not authorized to speak publicly on the plans) said the cabinet committee is worried about security at the border, the prospect of even higher COVID infection rates in the U.S. and the possibility of Trump taking harder lines on international issues that could affect Canada.

      • “Break ’Em Up”: As DOJ Targets Google, Zephyr Teachout Urges Breakup of More Big Tech Monopolies

        The Department of Justice and 11 states have filed a major antitrust lawsuit against Google in a move that could lead to the breakup of the company’s business and holds major implications for other tech giants. The lawsuit accuses Google of engaging in illegal practices to maintain a monopoly on the search market, which fuels its dominance in online advertising. Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, who has long advocated for breaking up Big Tech monopolies, says it’s “an incredibly important lawsuit” that should be the start of a wave of legal and legislative action to tackle “this incredible democratic crisis we have of Big Tech really becoming a form of private, for-profit government that is taking over so many parts of our lives.”

      • Patents

        • Incandescent Lamp Patent Case

          This was a bill in equity, filed by the Consolidated Electric Light Company against the McKeesport Light Company, to recover damages for the infringement of letters patent No. 317,[6]76, issued May 12, 1885, to the Electro-Dynamic Light Company, assignee of Sawyer and Man, for an electric light. The defendants justified under certain patents to Thomas A. Edison, particularly No. 223,898, issued January 27, 1880; denied the novelty and utility of the complainant’s patent; and averred that the same had been fraudulently and illegally procured. The real defendant was the Edison Electric Light Company, and the case involved a contest between what are known as the Sawyer and Man and the Edison systems of electric lighting.

          In their application, Sawyer and Man stated that their invention related to ‘that class of electric lamps employing an incandescent conductor [e]nclosed in a transparent, hermetically sealed vessel or chamber, from which oxygen is excluded, and … more especially to the incandescing conductor, its substance, its form, and its combination with the other elements composing the lamp. Its object is to secure a cheap and effective apparatus; and our improvement consists, first, of the combination, in a lamp chamber, composed wholly of glass, as described in patent No. 205,144,’ upon which this patent was declared to be an improvement, ‘of an incandescing conductor of carbon made from a vegetable fibrous material, in contradistinction to a similar conductor made from mineral or gas carbon, and also in the form of such conductor so made from such vegetable carbon, and combined in the lighting circuit with the exhausted chamber of the lamp.’

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for Blyncsy Prior Art — Unified Patents

            On October 20, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of U.S. Patent 10,198,779. The patent is owned by Blyncsy, Inc., an NPE. The ’779 patent generally relates to contact tracing of contagions and is currently being asserted against using this technology for the current Covid-19 pandemic.

          • PTAB/District Court Trial Date Denials Spiraling Upward: PTAB Discretionary Denials Third-Quarter Report

            Key Takeaways: After returning to the data, breaking down all discretionary denials by category, and updating the data for the past three months, it is clear that the PTAB now prefers denying more petitions under their recent NHK Spring/Fintiv “parallel district court” practice than any other means; discretionary denials as a percentage of overall denials have risen and will almost certainly exceed last year’s denials, both in terms of raw numbers (in a down year) and by overall percentage (by a substantial margin).

            Following Unified’s Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 reports on PTAB procedural denials, we went back to further analyze and categorize all Board decisions to date to understand the impact of new decisions, including the NHK Spring/Fintiv and General Plastic/NVIDIA line of decisions. This year, the number of non-merits or “procedural” denials by the Board has dramatically increased overall; for example, through the first nine months of 2020, 151 denials (16% of all decisions) have been issued, nearly tying 2019’s 162 denials for the entire year.

            With total number of institution decisions by the Board somewhat depressed overall this year, we now see that the amount of discretionary denials as a percentage of total denials has risen dramatically, representing more than a third of all institution denials in 2020–or put another way, 38% of all denials in 2020 to date are cases where the Board did not consider the merits of the petition.

          • Guest Post by Profs. Contreras and Yu: Will China’s New Anti-Suit Injunctions Shift the Balance of Global FRAND Litigation?

            The first case involves Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei and Texas-based patent assertion entity Conversant Wireless Licensing (formerly Core Wireless). Conversant holds a globe-spanning portfolio of patents that it acquired from Nokia and which it claims are essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunications standards developed under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Conversant sought to license these patents to Huawei, but negotiations broke down and in 2017 and 2018 Conversant asserted the patents against Huawei in multiple jurisdictions. The UK suit was recently decided by the UK Supreme Court, [2020] UKSC 37, which held that a UK court has the authority to set a global FRAND royalty rate between the parties, notwithstanding its lack of jurisdiction over patents outside the UK (see discussion here). (This case also involved an unsuccessful 2018 bid by Conversant to obtain an ASI from the UK Court of Chancery, [2018] EWHC (Ch) 2549, against the prosecution of a related suit by ZTE, Huawei’s co-defendant, in the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in China – discussed here).

            In response to Conversant’s initial patent assertions, in January 2018 Huawei sought declarations from the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu Province, China, that it did not infringe three of Conversant’s Chinese patents and, if it did, that it was entitled to a license on FRAND terms. On September 16, 2019, the Nanjing court declined to issue a declaration regarding infringement, but established a “top down” FRAND royalty for the three Conversant patents (discussed at length in IAM, 23 Sept. 2019 and IAM, 5 Aug. 2020). The decision is currently on appeal at the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of China.

            Meanwhile, in April 2018, Conversant sued Huawei in the District Court in Düsseldorf, Germany, alleging infringement of several European patents. On August 27, 2020, the Düsseldorf court granted Conversant an injunction against Huawei’s sale, use or importation in Germany of devices infringing patent EP1797659 (the German Patent).

      • Copyrights

        • Songs and Lyrics by Tom Lehrer

          In other words, all the lyrics herein should be treated as though they were in the public domain.

          [...]

          Note: This website will be shut down on December 31, 2024, so if you want to download anything, don’t wait too long.

        • Twitch DMCA “Bloodbath” Trades Copyright Strikes For Due Process

          A large number of Twitch users have had their videos deleted following a new round of mass DMCA notice processing. Twitch has also imposed an interesting ‘deal’ on those affected. In exchange for removing their ability to file a counternotice, Twitch won’t be placing a copyright ‘strike’ against users’ accounts. A fair ‘amnesty’ deal or a coach-and-horses through due process?

        • Pirated Screeners of ‘Falling’ and ‘My Salinger Year’ Leak Online Early

          Two new pirated movie screeners appeared online this week, way ahead of the usual screener season. Pirate release group EVO published advance copies of ‘Falling’ and ‘My Salinger Year,’ two popular films at international festivals. The releases are not typical award screeners but appear to come from online festival screenings instead.

        • Making the CC Global Network Work Better for You

          Just over a year ago, the Executive Committee of the CC Global Network Council (GNC) launched an open process to collect feedback from all members on the network structure, with the purpose of understanding what was working and what was not, and to offer recommendations on how to make the structure work better for those on the ground and in local communities. 

        • How Can Linking to an Article be Immoral When the Media Source Itself Does the Posting, Part 2: A Day in the Life of the Toronto Star on Facebook

          Second, this data is focused on public postings. CrowdTangle also provides aggregate data that incorporates non-public posts (ie. private sharing). The number of public and private article shares (along with all the data on posts) is posted below. The total number of article shares – both public and private – for all 36 articles was 2,663 for an average of 74 shares per article. Even leaving aside the fact that many of these shares come from the Toronto Star’s own posts, Canada’s largest newspaper by circulation generates just 74 shares per article on Facebook. The loss of ad revenue may be a significant threat to Canadian media organizations, but the claim that this can be attributed to Facebook “taking” media content simply does not accord with the data on how articles make their way onto Facebook nor what happens once those articles are publicly posted.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Living Humbly (With Older Technology or None) is More Compatible With Privacy- and Freedom-Respecting Technological Lifestyle

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Hardware at 1:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tungsten T, introduced in November 2002 and still works in 2020
I still rely on unconnected Palm PDAs for note-taking (or voice memos) and it serves as well as it did 2 decades ago. That becomes problematic when they stop working and cannot be repaired/replaced.

Summary: Simplicity sometimes trumps so-called 'novelty', especially when it comes to human rights and users’ freedom

THERE is an important correlation infrequently spoken about. It is a correlation between adoption of expensive or “latest” technology… with abuse of oneself. Whether it’s “digital” (a.k.a. “smart”) payments or something seemingly innocent and harmless like group chats, there’s a hidden cost often completely unaccounted for. The reason group chats — especially real-time video — are difficult in a non-centralised (or decentralised fashion) is limit on bandwidth/throughput in any given network, not to mention computational barriers of home computers. It’s different from peer-to-peer or end-to-end chats. It does not scale linearly. Similarly, digital payments may seem possible in theory but as scale grows (big growth), so do storage requirements (sometimes quadratically, not O(n)). The constraints imposed make so-called ‘clown computing’ alluring (a fluid allocation of resources, which can scale to meet growing needs).

“The “War on Cash” — as we’ve repeatedly noted — relies a great deal on demonisation and mischaracterisation.”But where are we heading with all that?

Putting aside truly ridiculous metaphors such as "serverless", let’s consider the topological ends. At the top we have rich ‘suppliers’ of computing resources, who increasingly refer to us “mere peons” as just “edges”. They want us to broadcast data upwards (to their ‘clowns’) and pay the electric bill for surveillance, or (pre)processing of data to be transmitted upsteam.

Where are we now?

Well, many homes do not yet have lots of wiring (or even wireless) for spying. They’re supposedly ‘dumb’ for not “getting on with the programme…”

Simple text editors are still better than word processors in many casesPutting aside the presence of several so-called ‘phones’ in many homes (even supposedly ‘smart’ ones with back doors), there’s an effort underway to put permanent, always-on devices that are mostly immovable. Those are already being used to disseminate data not just to states but also to marketers. They make money that way, at the expense of tenants, but of course they keep jacking up the prices/rates again and again, regardless. Germany is apparently ‘leading’ in that regard; the push to install a bug in every home is in full swing. Here in the UK it can certainly not be imposed on anybody, certainly no sooner than 2024. Our energy supplier keeps robocalling people, repeatedly, to push them to abuse fellow tenants with mass surveillance (by misinforming and threatening them). They’re also wasting company budgets on letters with fake “appointments” in them (to get installed those so-called ‘smart’ meters). The media likes to portray as “paranoid” those who resist it and sometimes it distorts, deliberately perhaps, the nature of the criticism (similar to the way 5G antagonists are branded as “COVIDiots”… as if the real argument against 5G is something about radio waves passing a virus around).

The “War on Cash” — as we’ve repeatedly noted — relies a great deal on demonisation and mischaracterisation. They paint so-called ‘cashless’ people as “Smart”, whereas everyone else is a criminal (looking to hide crimes), dumb/backwards, dirty (sanitary aspects of demonisation have a dark, dark history), and uncaring about society (think of the children! Install contract-tracing!).

The narrative wars are potentially very effective. The antiwar movement being conflated with Hippies probably did not help, as if to oppose wars is to oppose capitalism itself. Some go as far as to compare people who pursue nationalised healthcare to socialists and bloodthirsty Marxists, as if to save poor people’s lives (even when the financial incentive isn’t there) is “bloodthirsty”.

A lot of the videos I’ve watched lately portray activists for software freedom as relics and Luddites. The general premise it, people who reject the latest of something are borderline insane. In the GNU/Linux world we’re often told that systemd antagonists are just “neckbeards” and people who prefer the command line (not choosing GUI over CLI) don’t do so for expressive interfaces, which they can master and leverage for greater efficiency, but for anti-Establishment ‘spite’ or rebel-like mindset.

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